Cranston high school teacher accused of sexually assaulting 4 students

A Cranston teacher has been accused of sexually assaulting four high school students.
Police said 58-year-old Charles Pearson, a Cranston West High School science teacher, was arrested after a female student complained to school officials that Pearson touched her inappropriately.
The complaint was filed with authorities on March 24, with investigators later learning that there were three more victims, whose ages range from fourteen to sixteen years old.
“The alleged sexual assaults took place in the Cranston West High School between October 2016 and March 2017,” authorities noted in a press release. “Once the allegations were reported to the School Administration and the Cranston Police, Mr. Pearson was immediately placed on administrative leave. “
Pearson was charged with 12 counts of second degree sexual assault. He was arraigned Thursday and released on $75,000 personal recognizance.
Pearson, who lives in Warwick and has been teaching at the school since 2001, was ordered to have no contact with the alleged victims.
“If the allegations are sustained against Mr. Pearson, this behavior is extremely troubling and is a violation of public trust, particularly based on his employment as a school teacher where he is charged with ensuring the health, safety and welfare of students,” Col. Michael Winquist said in a statement. “We rely on teachers to be mentors, educators and role models in our community. I want to commend the School Administrators, School Resource Officers and Special Victims Unit Detectives who acted quickly in investigating these allegations once it was brought to their attention.”
But several of Pearson’s former students, as well as a parent, reached out to NBC 10, saying they are shocked. They also said they don’t believe the accusations and described him as a father figure and mentor.
“I honestly sat in my car and cried,” Valerie Elliot said of learning the news, noting that while Pearson hugged students, he never came close to crossing a line. “I didn’t think it was real. I know that it wasn’t real. I couldn’t believe it. I never looked at him to do something like that. I looked at him as a father figure.”
Marissa Silvia shared similar sentiments.
“I just sobbed. It’s hard to believe,” Silvia said. “He was like my father. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have made it out of high school.”
Damien Lemoi, a parent, said he finds the accusations “outrageous.”
“I am alarmed by the information I just heard,” he said “Maybe the city of Cranston should do a better background check on these people.”
In response to NBC 10’s requests for comment, the School Department shared a statement from Superintendent Jeannine Nota-Masse.
“I want to assure you that we have cooperated fully with the investigation and we have taken the appropriate action regarding this matter,” she noted in the statement, which was sent to parents. “We continue to be diligent in our efforts to keep our students safe. In the event that any student or staff member requires support, please contact the staff at CHSW directly.”
NBC 10 visited Pearson’s home Thursday night, but no one came to the door.
Pearson is scheduled to appear in court on June 1 for a pre-arraignment hearing.
If you have information about the allegations, contact the Cranston Police Department Special Victims Unit, Sgt. Lori Sweeney at 401-477-5037 or Detective Michael Iacone at 401-477-5062.