A retired New Hanover County Public Schools volleyball coach has been charged with sex crimes for alleged offenses dating back to the 80s. A second New Hanover school employee was charged with similar crimes but committed suicide hours after being released on bond.
The Wilmington Police Department (WPD) said in a statement that Ronnie Lynn Strickland, age 67, was arrested for two counts of Sexual activity by a custodian.
Strickland had surrendered himself to police on April 12. He was later issued a $20,000 unsecured bond, which he appears to have posted.
The charge is a Class E felony under state statute. The charge carries a penalty of 15 to 63 months in prison per incident.
According to the WPD statement, the alleged crimes “happened in 1982-83,” when Strickland was the Volleyball Coach for John T. Hoggard high school.
Strickland had apparently been a volleyball coach at the high school for 38 years. He had also been a coach at Roland Grise Middle School and was involved with the Cape Fear Volleyball Club.
“The victims came forward, saying the two had an inappropriate relationship starting around 1982, while the victims were 16 years old,” the WPD statement read.
According to statements made by New Hanover County Public Schools officials, Strickland had been removed from his position earlier this year after a tip came in via social media.
NHCS Superintendent Dr. Charles Foust issued the following statement:
“I am committed to doing everything we can to keep children safe. New Hanover County Schools is cooperating fully with law enforcement. Identification of abuse is the first step to strengthening our prevention efforts. We will report and investigate all allegations. Each student should feel that they are safe when they come to school and we hold all of our educators accountable to upholding that standard. The district will not tolerate inappropriate conduct with a student.”
Records show that Strickland’s North Carolina teaching license expired in June of 2015.
He is the fifth school employee arrest tracked by this site in 2021. This is the second New Hanover Public Schools employee in a month to be accused of sex-related charges involving students.
On April 2, David Eugene Bostian, age 59, had been charged with two counts of a sexual offense by a government employee. The charges, in statute, appear to be the same or similar as Strickland’s.
Bostian had been the assistant principal at Nobel Middle School since 2010 but had resigned following the charges being filed against him, according to New Hanover Public Schools.
The alleged incidents involving a 16-year-old which spanned a two-year period back in the early 1990s. According to the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, the alleged incidents happened in 1992, when Bostian taught at New Hanover High School.
Bostian had been released on a $150,000 unsecured bond but was found dead in his home from a self-inflicted gunshot according to the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office. Wilmington Police had responded to a 911 call at 9:05 a.m. from Bostian’s home.
New Hanover County Schools said Bostian had been a physical education teacher with the district from 1985 to 1997. He left the district for some time and was later rehired in 2007 to work at Gregory Elementary School, again working as a physical education teacher.
Bostian’s teaching license was not set to expire until 2024 and he was licensed in the areas of Health Education, as well as School Administrator: Principal and in Physical Education.
Bostian was the fourth such arrest tracked by this site in 2021. His obituary is available online. He leaves behind a wife, two children, and two grandchildren.