by Clellie Allen
WAKEFIELD — Wakefield High School teacher and coach Jamie Lloyd Ayers was taken into custody Monday night after a female student at the same school brought allegations of a sex crime to Raleigh police officers.
Ayers, 42, of 321 Yellow Poplar Ave., Wake Forest, was charged with three counts of felony sex offense against a student and held originally on $50,000 bond.
At his first court appearance Tuesday morning, Wake Assistant District Attorney Boz Zellinger requested his bond be doubled based on a review of the evidence.
“As the state goes through the letters, notes, phone and text messages between this defendant and the student, I think it would be appropriate for the bond to be … higher. I ask for a minimum of $100,000,” Zellinger said. District Court Judge Jennifer Knox agreed to the increase.
Wake County Schools spokeswoman Stella Shelton said the school system had been alerted to the investigation prior to Ayers’ arrest and had suspended him with pay Monday afternoon. Shelton could not, however, confirm exactly when the school became aware of the allegations.
Ayers’ arrest warrant outlines that the alleged offenses took place from June of 2011 through March 1 of this year. Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue confirmed that the victim is currently an 18-year-old Wakefield student and that Ayers had been arrested after being brought in for questioning.
Reaction from students was swift on Twitter with many outraged and avowing Ayers’ innocence.
“Standing by coach Ayers! Football family forever!” tweeted Evan Brabrand.
“No way this is true,” wrote Pat White.
Others were stunned. “Seeing Coach Ayers in cuffs made my stomach flip. I have no idea how to feel about this whole situation,” wrote Michael Cooley.
“Coach ayers what the hell man,” tweeted Ryan Anderson.
Ayers is a 15-year veteran with Wake County Schools.
Shelton confirmed he had taught at East Cary Middle and Wakefield Middle before coming to Wakefield High in 2004.
In addition to teaching physical education, Ayers was the head softball coach and an assistant football coach.
While Sughrue said at this time there were no other allegations against Ayers, he encouraged anyone with further information to contact Raleigh police.
The statute under which Ayers was arrested specifically refers to any school personnel engaging in intercourse or a sexual act with a victim who is a student. Consent between the individuals is not a defense under this charge.
Renee McCoy, Wake Schools interim director for public relations, said students and parents alike could bring any lingering concerns to Wakefield Principal Tripp Crayton.
McCoy said WCPSS and the school have no plans to formally offer counseling to students or to send home any type of letter or phone call to parents, adding that, “There’s nothing we can add to what the media has already reported.”
The newspaper made several attempts to reach Ayers for comment, but was unsuccessful as of press time.