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Ex-SC teacher gets probation for sex with NC teen

Published: Oct. 29, 2009 at 1:52 PM EDT|Updated: Nov. 3, 2009 at 9:47 PM EST
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Richard Priode (Source Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Department)
Richard Priode (Source Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Department)

ROCK HILL, SC (WBTV) - A former band teacher at a South Carolina middle school accused of having sex with a North Carolina student has been sentenced to two years probation and ordered to undergo treatment.

The man plead guilty Wednesday and was sentenced in court.

Richard Priode, 44, of Green Lea Court in Charlotte, also taught band at Sullivan Middle School in Rock Hill, South Carolina, police said. The relationship between the victim and Priode happened for two years while Priode taught at South Mecklenburg High School in 2007.

Priode, who was arrested early morning on June 11, faced a felony charge. Wednesday he plead guilty to taking indecent liberties with a student.

His sentence was six to eight months suspended with 24 months supervised probation, and he will have to enter a sex offender treatment process.

The incidents occurred at South Mecklenburg High School, where Priode used to teach, police said. The incident allegedly was reported in April, but Priode was still able to secure a job in the Rock Hill School System.

During testimony in court on Wednesday, the victim in the case, who is now in college, read a statement to the court. She said that she went into counseling and that is what lead to her reporting the incidents.

The prosecutor said the distance between the victim and suspect -- and the victim's age -- may have  helped her come forward.

The prosecutor also said that the student and Priode had a two year sexual relationship.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools says Priode worked for the district for two school years from '06 to '08.  He was given a thorough background check as well. No red flags popped up. CMS said Priode simply left a year ago for a new job. The job was the one at Sullivan Middle School.

CMPD contacted the school district's personnel department in June to let them about the case.

The Rock Hill School District said CMPD notified them Wednesday of the arrest of Priode.  CMPD says they didn't inform them sooner because they don't notify employers about situations like this until they have probable cause to proceed with the case.

Rock Hill Police says they were never informed of any current investigation on Priode.