Civil lawsuit to begin against CMS and former West Charlotte group leader who sexually assaulted student

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A former West Charlotte High School student who was sexually assaulted by a group principal will be in court today seeking damages. The lawsuit names the former principal, Duncan Carol Gray, and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools as defendants.

The trial is set to begin nearly five years after Gray, 64, pleaded guilty to two counts of taking indecent liberties with the student. He was sentenced to 30 months of supervised probation, was ordered to undergo psychiatric and / or psychological counseling, to perform community service and to pay $ 622.50 in court costs.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for the former student, who is not named in this article because he is the victim of sexual assault.

A lawyer representing the student alleges in court documents that CMS was aware of previous complaints against Gray and did not act to remove him from the school. The lawsuit states that Gray had “a well-known and well-documented history of inappropriate sexual behavior with students.”

The lawsuit points to a case in March 2011 where allegations were made that Gray exchanged sexually explicit messages with a CMS student. The school district suspended the group’s leader for two weeks, according to the lawsuit.

CMS declined to comment on the allegations last week, citing the ongoing litigation.

Gray was arrested on April 17, 2016, after the former student told his parents about what had happened years earlier on the West Charlotte campus.

During that criminal investigation, the former student told police that several years earlier, while a West Charlotte student and a member of the West Charlotte group, Gray, who was the group’s director at the time , had sexually assaulted him at school. The lawsuit exposes allegations of improper touching, suggestive comments and sexual coercion by the group leader.

In one 2017 interview with WBTV News, the former student, then a senior at UNC Chapel Hill, alleged that Gray had singled him out with additions and affirmation words. Looking back, the former student said in the interview, he could see that the group director was preparing him for inappropriate actions that would come later.

“In my mind, I think I can admire this man,” the former student told WBTV. “This man was interested in developing me to be a better person, so I trusted him and he gave me that confidence.”

Prior to going to West Charlotte High, Gray was employed at Johnson C. Smith University as a music instructor / group manager from August 1, 1986 until June 30, 2004.

He then led a community group for a YMCA Stratford-Richardson teen program before landing as a group director in West Charlotte in 2007.

The lawsuit seeks damages for sex discrimination; deprivation of the student’s constitutional right to personal security; negligent hiring, supervision and retention; infliction of emotional distress; aggression; battery; and deprivation of the student’s constitutional right to education.

A lawyer for the student declined to comment on the case.

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