A now-former Transylvania County Public Schools teacher has been arrested on rape and indecent liberties charges involving a student.
Harell Mitchell III, age 25, was arrested and taken into custody on Jan. 13 on charges of felony second-degree forcible rape and felony indecent liberties with a female student currently attending Brevard High School.
Per charging documents, the rape did not occur on the grounds of the high school where Mitchell also worked.
Second-degree forcible rape is a Class C felony that carries a sentence of between 44 to 182 months in prison. Indecent liberties with a student is a Class I felony with a possible prison term of three to 12 months per count.
The Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office says there may be more charges as the investigation is still ongoing.
The arrest of Mitchell came after he evaded law enforcement and initially fled to Georgia where he had lived in the past. He was eventually taken into custody by the United States Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force in the early hours of Jan. 14. Mitchell waived extradition and was taken to the Transylvania County Detention Center prior to his Jan. 15 release on a $300,000 secured bond.
The next court date set for Mitchell is on April 20.
Transylvania County Public Schools indicated Mitchell had worked both as an assistant football coach and as a teacher’s assistant in grades 9-12 at Brevard High School. The district confirmed he began work on Aug. 26, 2022, but is “no longer employed” by the district but did not say when that employment ended.
Court records show the alleged crimes occurred on Nov. 28, 2022. It wasn’t until Jan. 10, 2023, that the Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office received information from a school resource officer about Mitchell’s alleged activities.
The following statement was issued by Transylvania County Public Schools:
Transylvania County Schools was notified last week of allegations against a former staff member regarding inappropriate conduct with a student.
The staff member is no longer employed by Transylvania County Schools, and the Transylvania County Sheriffs’ Office is in the process of conducting an investigation.
The district has high professional expectations for our staff and expects all employees to act appropriately and respectfully toward our students and their families.
All allegations of wrongdoing are taken seriously, and we appreciate the support and assistance from local law enforcement to handle these situations. As always, the safety and security of our students are the highest priority.
Per personnel confidentiality laws and due to it being part of an ongoing investigation by the Sheriff’s Department, we have no additional comments at this time.
There is no teaching license on file for Mitchell with the state of North Carolina.