CHARLOTTE, N.C – Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have issued an “urgent warning” for parents to talk with their children after CMPD arrested an elementary school teacher who is accused of sex crimes with students.
29-year-old Taji Brown is a 5th grade teacher at Billingsville Elementary School in Charlotte.
Police say he sexually assaulted at least two young victims in his home, under the guise of a summer mentoring camp for boys without fathers.
“The way through which this individual went about praying on these children is nothing short of disgraceful,” police said Tuesday.
“Singling out single moms, this individual knowing that they’re in vulnerable positions, having so much to do by themselves and just how distracted they are.”
Police say Brown has been conducting a summer camp called G.U.D.B.O.Y.S. (Gentleman Understanding Destiny By Overcoming Your Statistics) out of his North Charlotte home. At least six young boys, most 11 years old, stayed there overnight for the program.
Warrants state Brown touched at least two of those boys, ages 10 and 11, inappropriately in the shower, washing their private parts.
It also states he slept in the same bed with at least one boy, and physically punished several others, punching them and hitting them with a belt.
Police announced a 10-year-old victim told his mother about the abuse, which launched a weeks-long investigation.
“This seriously is courageous of that child to bring that information to their parent and that’s what we’re trying to promote today,” police said.
Dr. Blair Hamel, a child psychologist for Thriveworks in Charlotte, says parents should talk to their children about ‘privates’ as soon as possible.
“Children need to be taught these things before school even starts,” she said.
“A lot of times the children don’t come forward. Sometimes the perpetrator is going to say something like ‘don’t tell your parents, this is our secret.””
The arrest warrant states Brown did exactly that.
“If it seems like a very large personality change that seems sudden out of nowhere that’s our times to start asking questions,” Dr. Hamel said.
“There a lot of warning signs parents need to be watching for. A change in sleeping patterns, eating patterns, new fears nightmares any regressions.”
“Excessive cleanliness, becoming more withdrawn, angry outbursts,” also named.
Dr. Hamel also says if your child does come to you with concerning information, report it immediately, rather than trying to confront a potential abuser.
“The parents role is to be the child’s support,” she said. “So listen to the child and then report it to the authorities and have the authorities be the investigators.”
Another point reflected in the warrant, which states one of the victims told his mother about the abuse. The mother asked the suspect about it, but the suspect denied it. The warrant states the child later called his mother back and told her “not to tell [the suspect] what he told her anymore.”
Brown has been a teacher with CMS since 2011, the warrant states at least one student came forward and reported that the suspect spanked him on school grounds.
CMS officials say Brown has been suspended with pay.
Police believe there may be more victims of abuse at the hands of Brown. If you suspect your child may have been abused, call police right away.