PEMBROKE, NC (WMBF) - A now-former Pembroke Middle School teacher confessed to engaging in sexual conduct while he was a teacher with three female students who were 14 at the time the incidents occurred, according to a news release from the Pembroke Police Department.
Jeremy Sessoms, 29, turned himself in to police on Tuesday, April 4, one day after the detective in the case testified before a Robeson County Grand Jury. Sessoms resigned from his job at Pembroke Middle School, where he was also a boys basketball coach, on March 14, district officials confirmed.
On March 17, a school resource officer received information that Sessoms, who was a social studies teacher at the time, had engaged in sexual conduct with three female students who were 14 years old when the incident occurred, the news release states.
The allegations stem back to June 2016. Two Pembroke police officers conducted interviews with the students and other witnesses.
Police also interviewed Sessoms, who confessed to the allegations, police stated. After the interview, other victims came forward with statements, texts, and Facebook messages alleging sexual activity.
On Monday, a true bill of indictment was returned against Sessoms on two counts of statutory rape of a person who is 15 or younger, two counts of statutory sex offense of a person who is 15 or younger, four counts of sexual activity with a student, and seven counts of indecent liberties with a child.
"You hear things on the streets where as other students or teachers say this has been going on for quite some time, why haven't law enforcement already handled the situation or been aware," said Det. Todd Hariss. "If I had known it was going on a year ago or six months ago, the problem would have been addressed. The public should always be aware, teachers should always be aware of their surroundings of students and shouldn't be afraid to come to law enforcement and make these complaints so that we can check into them to see if there is or isn't truth to the allegations. So we are happy with this one that we've got it finally concluded."
Sessoms went through the interviews with witnesses, the females and parents.
"They do have the right to waive their right to have a parent or counselor with them because of their ago, which got touchy in situations, but some parents, of course they were advised with what's going on and some still sat in the interviews with them," said Harris.
Harris added there are programs and counseling set up with the Robeson County Public Schools.
Sessoms is being held at the Robeson County Jail under a $205,000 bond. His next court date is scheduled for May 1, 2017, according to court records.
Sessoms worked at Pembroke Middle School from February 16, 2015, until his resignation on March 14, 2017.