A Christian school’s co-founder is facing felony charges after she knowingly hired a registered sex offender to work at the private academy, before attempting to cover up the misdeed. Raw Story reports that Joan Ellen Dayton violated the Sex Offender Registry Act when she allowed an RSO by the name of Paul Conner to work at the Freedom Christian Academy at the same time that his wife was employed there as a teacher.
Joan Ellen Dayton turned herself into police on Monday, where she was charged with at least three violations of the Sex Offender Registration Act. She was also charged with conspiracy to allow a sex offender on protected premises. These are felony charges which could land her in prison. She could also face stiff penalties for violating such important regulations that are put in place to protect children and vulnerable persons.
Sex offender Paul Conner is listed on the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry, along with a somewhat detailed list of stats about the crime he committed. According to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, Paul Leroy Conner committed a sexual act on an 8-year-old girl — a crime that is all the more disturbing to know, since the Christian school co-founder knowingly hired him to work around children.
The Fayetteville Observer reports that Conner has also been charged with at least three counts of violating the Sex Offender Registry Act. In other words, he’s in trouble for directly violating the conditions of his release by refusing to distance himself from children like he’s been ordered to do. It’s also reported that the registered sex offender has been cooperative with law enforcement over the course of the investigation. The attorney representing the sheriff’s office in this case confirmed that his cooperation is what led to the charges that Joan Dayton faces.
“We will make it known to the court his cooperation and information he provided against Mrs. Dayton with regard to violations of the sex offender act.”
The Freedom Christian Academy is a small private school with a student body of approximately 550 children between the grades Kindergarten through 12th. It’s being reported that Conner’s unlawful presence at the small school became noticed by one of the student’s parents, who either recognized him as a sex offender or otherwise found out through other means. The parent notified the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, which led to an investigation that started in May of this year.
[Photo: Sex Offender Registry photo (Paul Conner)/ Joan Dayton, Freedom Christian Academy]