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Charlotte elementary staffer charged with child rape

A Charlotte elementary school staffer has been arrested and accused of raping and taking indecent liberties with a child.

Tafari Higgins, who teaches technology skills at Hornets Nest Elementary School on Beatties Ford Road, was arrested Friday on the felony charges.

School officials said Higgins, 25, has worked at the elementary school since August 2012.

They were first alerted to Higgins’ arrest Monday and planned to send letters home to parents Tuesday.

Higgins has been suspended with pay pending an investigation, a Charlotte Mecklenburg School spokeswoman said. He has not been on school property since his arrest.

The victim involved in the case was not a student at Hornets Nest Elementary nor did the alleged crime happen on school property, officials said.

A police report shows the alleged rape happened in March.

CMS officials said Higgins’ pre-employment background check gave no indication that he had had criminal trouble in the past. A search of North Carolina public records shows Higgins has no prior criminal convictions.

Higgins’ Facebook profile lists him as having attended UNC Charlotte, N.C. Central University and Independence High School.

Higgins lives in Charlotte but is originally from Syracuse, N.Y., according to his Facebook page.

In 2007, Higgins participated in a march against violence and vigil in Durham.

“It’s always a good time to show support for people that have been victims of violence,” he was quoted as saying in a WRAL-TV article after the event.

Attempts to reach Higgins’ family members Tuesday were unsuccessful.

Higgins was in the Mecklenburg County jail on $75,000 bond.

Observer researcher Maria David contributed

Steele: 704 358-5067
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