This past week, the trial for a former Raleigh Montessori headmistress accused of aiding and abetting the sex crimes of a teacher under her charge.
Nancy Errichetti was the headmistress of the school when Nicholas Conlon Smith was arrested for sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl at the school.
She was indicted in May of 2018 on charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and aiding and abetting taking indecent liberties with a child.
Smith was arrested in 2017 on over 30 child sex crime charges. In August if 2020, he took a deal and entered a guilty plea.
In 2018, the family of the girl sued Errichetti, claiming in their filing that she knew about the relationship between Nicholas Conlon Smith and the girl and did nothing to stop it.
Early arguments by prosecutors in the case said Errichetti ignored Smith’s sexual abuse because more than a decade ago, Smith had abused another female teen student who happens to be the sister of the most recent victim.
Testimony included descriptions of the abuse that took place in the “pottery shack” a stand-alone building on the middle school campus.
Assistant District Attorney Melanie Shekita said Errichetti had been aware of complaints that fell across the years 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2016 about Smith yet failed to take any action.
Attorneys for Errichetti argued no one knew about the eldest sister’s claims and that the younger sister’s accusations about Smith did not come out until a year after she left the school.
According to testimony, Smith apparently began having sex with the older sister in 2011 in multiple locations such as the woods next to the school, the pottery shack, in Smith’s classroom and in his car. Sex acts took place during school, after school, on field strips, and sometimes at the homes of the student’s parents.
Recap of Smith’s charges
Nicholas Conlon Smith was arrested on November 7th, 2017, and was originally charged with 16 felony counts of statutory rape involving a 14-year-old girl and 4 counts of felony sex offense with a student.
The bond set for Smith was raised from $1 million to $2 million by the presiding judge in Raleigh in Nov. 2017.
The charges stemmed from alleged incidents that occurred between August 2011 and June 2012. Wake County Assistant District Attorney Christy Joyce told the court that a second victim has been identified and more charges were likely to come – and they did.
The additional charges bring Smith’s total to 33 sexually related felony counts.
Additional child exploitation charges were added after sexually explicit images of female students were found on Smith’s home computer. The arrest warrant served on Smith states that he is accused of ‘encouraging and coercing’ a young girl to take nude pictures of herself and then send the images to him.
According to law enforcement, the images were taken in 2011 and in 2012. The female students in question were between the ages of 14 and 15 at the time and were partially nude in the images.
More charges were filed after another victim came forward and child exploitation charges were added after sexually explicit images of female students were found on Smith’s home computer. Smith’s total after the additional charges were added rose to 33 felonies.
Smith took a deal and pleaded guilty on Aug. 28, 2020.
Judge Shirley Graham sentenced him to 20 years in prison, but he will serve 17 years and four months due to credit for time already served.
A search for Smith in the Wake County mugshot database pulled up three arrests, one of which was in Durham in 2015 and has not been included in local reporting that I’ve seen so far.