The attorney for a former Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teacher accused of having inappropriate contact with a student three decades ago says his client plans to fight the charge.
We have absolutely every intention of pleading not guilty, defense attorney George Laughrun told the Observer on Tuesday.
Laughrun represents Monte Sue Diebolt, 73, who is charged with one count of felony taking indecent liberties with a child. She lives in Statesboro, Ga.
The alleged abuse dates back to the 1982-83 school year when Diebolt was an elementary school teacher at Charlottes Marie G. Davis school. At the time, the victim was a sixth grader in Diebolts class, according to his attorney.
The victim told police that he had been forced to touch the suspect inappropriately and against his will. He was 11 years old at the time.
Attorney Melissa Owen said the victim, who is now 41 and does not want to be identified, decided to come forward last year after talking with his family.
My client decided that this was a wrong that he needed to right, Owen said, adding that the victim worried that others may have been abused.
Owen said the victims relationship with Diebolt began with her giving him candy and notes that made him feel special. Then, she allegedly would ask for the victims textbook and return it to him with a note asking him to stay behind in class where the contact would occur.
Owen said that at one point, the victims mother went to the school principal to voice her suspicion that something was wrong. But she reportedly was told that her concerns were unfounded, and she shouldnt have any concerns about this particular teacher, Owen said.
The victim came forward to police last February. And before Christmas, the suspect apologized to the victim in a phone call, Owen said.
Laughrun said the court case is still in its early stages, and his client has not been made privy yet to discovery in the case. But he said that based on what he knows at this point, his client plans to plead not guilty.
He said after learning of an arrest warrant against her, Diebolt drove up from Georgia with her husband and son and surrendered herself at the Mecklenburg jail. She was released from custody hours later after posting bond.
Diebolt taught at Marie G. Davis from 1972 to 1985, then moved to Northwest Junior High, according to a CMS spokeswoman. She said the district did not have information on whether Diebolt ever had any infraction or disciplinary action against her. News Researcher Maria David contributed