North Carolina

NC assistant principal accused of sexual encounters with students won’t go to prison

An assistant principal accused of having sexual encounters with two students won’t serve prison time, North Carolina officials say.

Lisa Renee Rothwell, 34, pleaded guilty Monday to “two counts of sexual activity with a student,” WJZY and other news outlets report.

Rothwell was a Stuart W. Cramer High School administrator when an allegation surfaced that she had a sexual encounter with a 17-year-old student, according to WSOC.

She was arrested earlier this month and faced several felony sex offense charges in Gaston County, The Charlotte Observer previously reported.

During Monday’s court hearing, officials said Rothwell “also had sex with” an 18-year-old student last month, WSOC reports.

Under North Carolina law, a school employee who engages in sexual activity with a student at his or her school is committing a felony, except if the two are married. No maximum student age is listed.

On Monday, “Superior Court Judge Steven Warren placed Rothwell on two years probation, suspending an active prison sentence of between 10 months and 21 months,” the Gaston Gazette reports.

That means Rothwell avoids prison time and has to “register as a sex offender for 30 years,” WSOC reports.

The punishment was a “slap on the wrist,” the 17-year-old’s mom said, according to WCNC.

Locke Bell, a district attorney, told the courtroom the assistant principal didn’t have a criminal record and “admitted to her misdeeds,” the Gaston Gazette reports.

“The defendant has been very cooperative with law enforcement,” Bell said, according to the newspaper. “She never played games or tried to hide anything.”

Rothwell, who lives in Charlotte, had previously resigned from Gaston County Schools and gave up her teaching license, WCNC reports.

The district on Tuesday didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cramer High School is roughly 14 miles west of Charlotte.

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