Steve Waddell

Steve Waddell leaves the courtroom at the Forsyth County Hall of Justice Wednesday, February 9, 2011 after pleading guilty to taking indecent liberties with a female student while working as a computer-technology teacher at Parkland High School.

A Parkland High School student's senior year has been ruined because a teacher molested her last year, the student's mother said Wednesday in Forsyth Superior Court.

"It's like, how dare you do that to my child," the girl's mother said. "How dare you take away my daughter's senior year."

Steven Kennard Waddell, 42, a computer-technology teacher at Parkland, pleaded guilty to two counts of taking indecent liberties with a child. The charges stemmed from an incident in April at Parkland. Waddell entered an Alford plea, meaning he did not admit guilt but acknowledged that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him.

Judge Lindsey Davis sentenced Waddell, who is suspended without pay from his teaching job, to two consecutive terms of six to eight months in prison, all suspended for 36 months. He was placed on supervised probation and ordered to register as a sex offender for 30 years. He also has to complete a sex-offender treatment program and is not to have contact with the victim.

It was the second time that Waddell had been accused of sexual misconduct. In 2006, he was accused of fondling another Parkland student, but then-school system attorney, Drew Davis, did not report that allegation to law enforcement.

In the incident for which Waddell was sentenced, the student, who was 16 at the time, had gone to the attendance office on April 22 because she wasn't feeling well. Kim Reeves, who worked in the office, left to get the student some hot water for tea, Assistant District Attorney Pansy Glanton said.

The Winston-Salem Journal does not publish the names of victims or their relatives in cases involving sex crimes.

Waddell stood outside the office and talked to the student, who was sitting down. He then came into the office, looked down her shirt and touched her breasts, Glanton said.

The student told him to stop. Waddell asked her to suck his toes and told her that if she sent him pictures, he would give her $2, Glanton said.

Waddell left before Reeves came back to the office. The student immediately told Reeves what Waddell had done. When the student left to return to class, Reeves asked Waddell to come to the office and confronted him about the allegations, Glanton said.

Waddell denied doing anything wrong.

After Waddell left, the student came back to the office. While she was there, Waddell called the girl on her cell phone and denied touching her, saying he could lose his job, Glanton said.

Reeves was in the office when Waddell called the girl, Glanton said.

Parkland officials contacted Davis, who notified the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office.

Superintendent Don Martin has recommended firing Waddell. The school board has not yet acted on the recommendation.

The 2006 incident involving Waddell and a separate allegation against another teacher at Wiley Middle School that turned out to be unfounded prompted Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O'Neill to ask for a State Bureau of Investigation inquiry. The SBI is looking into whether school officials broke a state law that requires principals to report such allegations directly to law enforcement.

The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school board terminated Davis' contract in November.

The victim's family is represented by attorney David Daggett. He said Wednesday that no lawsuit has been filed. He said he has been talking with the family and monitoring the case.

"What we were doing was waiting to see the outcome of the plea and kind of letting the dust settle and let the investigation play out," he said.

The mother said she is still angry that Waddell took advantage of her daughter's trust.

"She has not had a normal senior year because that has been taken away from her," the mother said.


mhewlett@wsjournal.com

(336) 727-7326

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