ROCK HILL — A Rock Hill school assistant principal was charged Friday with three counts of sexual exploitation of a child.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department notified the district that Darin Pearson, an assistant principal at Sullivan Middle School, was arrested Friday morning, according to a district news release.
Parents have been notified of the arrest and Pearson is on administrative leave, according to school district officials.
Police arrested Pearson after the Metro Nashville Police Departments Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force told Charlotte officials that the assistant principal was involved in trading photographs depicting child pornography, according to a police news release.
The N.C. State Bureau of Investigation and cyber crimes and youth detectives with Charlotte-Mecklenburg police searched Pearsons home and seized electronic devices, the release states.
After the seizure and examination of electronic devices, evidence was located connecting Mr. Pearson to child pornography, the release states.
Pearson is currently in police custody. He has not yet had a bond hearing.
Charlotte police are coordinating with the U.S. Attorneys Office concerning the case.
There is currently no information that leads detectives to believe any assaults on children have occurred in Charlotte, according to the release.
Rock Hill School District spokeswoman Elaine Baker said she has not been told whether Charlotte polices investigation uncovered any abuse of children at Sullivan Middle School. A spokeswoman with Charlotte police could not say whether detectives have discovered if Pearson committed any crimes at the Rock Hill school.
We hope not, Baker said. The Charlotte police department was very tight-lipped with their information.
It was very much a surprise to all of us here.
Pearson has been assistant principal at Sullivan since July 2007, the release states. Before becoming an assistant principal, Pearson was a teacher at the middle school for about five years.
He first came to the district as a substitute teacher, the release states.
Pearson was named Sullivans school-level teacher of the year a few years ago.
Hes always been efficient, Baker said.
Pearson is on paid administrative leave until police finish their investigation, she said.
The district considers him innocent until proven guilty, Baker said, adding that after the investigation is over, district officials will determine the future of Pearsons employment.
Sullivan Middle School used its computer-generated phone tree called Parent Link to notify parents about Pearsons arrest, Baker said.
In the phone message, parents were informed of how to reach the school in case they have concerns.
About five parents have called Bakers office, she said, and she was unsure of how many others had called the school directly.
The district had plans to tell Sullivans students about Pearsons at the end of school on Friday, she said.
Students will not be told details of why Pearson was arrested or anything about the crime hes charged with, Baker said.
Pearson has no prior criminal charges in South Carolina, according to a SLED background check.