BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Berkeley County School District officials say an assistant principal at Goose Creek High School has resigned following his arrest for allegedly having an illicit sexual relationship with a 16-year-old female student.
Investigators arrested 36-year-old Paul Jette Herman at his Moncks Corner home on Tuesday and charged with sexual battery with a student (without aggravated force or coercion). Herman was released on Wednesday on a $100,000 personal recognizance bond which means Herman did not have to pay for his release, providing he abide by terms set by a judge.
On Friday afternoon, BCSD officials released the following statement:
The following is a statement from Berkeley County School District Superintendent, Dr. Thompson, regarding the recent sexual battery allegations at Goose Creek High School.
"The District learned this week that an employee of Goose Creek High School has been arrested and charged with a violation of S.C. Code Section 16-3-755(B) (Sexual battery with a student 16 or 17 years of age with no aggravated force or coercion). The employee has resigned from his employment with the District, and the District is fully cooperating with law enforcement in their investigation of the matter.
We are very limited in these circumstances as to what we can say publicly because there is an ongoing criminal investigation. However, I wish to make it clear that the wellbeing and safety of all students is a top priority of the District. Under no circumstances does the District condone or tolerate any inappropriate conduct between its employees and students."
Herman's bond conditions include no contact with the alleged victim or her family, and no contact with children under the age of 17 other than his own children. He was also ordered to stay away from schools, playgrounds, malls, and libraries.
Herman is married and has three children, his attorney said Wednesday.
According to BCSO officials, after discovering text messages on the victim's cell phone and questioning the victim, her parents' ascertained information that she had been having an illicit relationship with Herman since December 2014.
The victim's parents then filed a report with the sheriff's office which came to the attention of the Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division.
An incident report states that the "inappropriate contact and communication" began in December of 2014 and ended on Saturday when the teen disclosed the incident to a parent.
An investigation followed and an arrest warrant was sworn out after obtaining a statement from the victim and corroborating evidence was found on the victim's cell phone.
Officials with the Berkeley County School District say Herman will be placed on leave immediately pending the investigation. The district released a statement on Tuesday saying officials had just become aware of Herman's arrest.
Act Number 2010-265 was signed into law in June 2010 and is designed to prosecute those in authority in the public or private school sector who abuse their authority and position of trust for the purpose of taking sexual advantage of students. Sexual battery with a student is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
According to his attorney, Herman got his Masters at The Citadel after graduating from Charleston Southern University. He was a Mt. Pleasant police officer for four years, worked at Cross High School for seven years, and has been at Goose Creek High School for three years.
Herman is next scheduled to appear in court on June 26.