A former Cape Fear High School teacher was arrested Friday on more than 50 child sex crimes, including 26 involving a student, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said.
William Landon Smith, 31, of Wade, was arrested on 29 warrants with a total of 56 charges, the Sheriff’s Office said.
He is charged with 27 counts of first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, 28 counts of indecent liberties with a student and one count of secretly using or installing a photographic imaging device to arouse or gratify sexual desire, the Sheriff’s Office said.
The Sheriff’s Office said Smith was communicating with victims through social media apps such as Snapchat. One of the known accounts he was using was "Landonology90" user qunyt57f5Rf with Snapchat code 704087.
Detectives said they have not identified all of the victims who had contact with Smith.
“District officials are aware that a former CCS employee was arrested and charged earlier today based on allegations of inappropriate behavior and interactions with minors,’’ Cumberland County Schools officials said in a statement. “The safety and well-being of our students and staff are always top priorities. When the allegations were brought to our attention, we immediately reported them to law enforcement.’’
“While the allegations are extremely disturbing, they are not representative of the 6,000-plus dedicated employees who serve our students on a daily basis,’’ the school system said.
The school system conducts extensive background checks on all employees and conducts ethics training for employees, the statement said. Employees also are reminded of district procedures and expectations during the annual review period of the school system’s employee handbook.
Cumberland County Sheriff Ennis Wright said parents, guardians and custodians should monitor their children's social media accounts and educate them about internet safety.
“It is essential to know who is communicating with your children,’’ Wright said in release. “Predators are not everywhere, but they may be anywhere.”
Smith is in the Cumberland County Detention Center with bail set at $425,000 secured. His first court appearance is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Monday at the detention center.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Detective S. Odenwelder at 910-677-5477 or Crimestoppers at 910-483-TIPS (8477).