CMS Suspends Myers Park Principal, Announces Task Force
Following months of reporting from WBTV’s Nick Ochsner and others on sexual assault allegations and claims of a cover up by the administration at Myers Park High School (MPHS), Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools announced Friday that MPHS principal Mark Bosco has been suspended. An email sent out to MPHS staff and families informed them that Bosco was suspended with pay and an interim principal will be assigned, though no other details were given.
Six students have come forward with allegations of sexual assault including rape by fellow students between 2014-2019. In a deposition for a lawsuit one of those former students filed against the Myers Park principal and others, Bosco admitted that he had informed the student she could be punished for having sex in the woods near the school if her rape allegations were false.
In a recent episode of our Nooze Hounds podcast, we spoke with WBTV’s David Hodges about his colleague Nick Ochsner’s reporting on the story.
Also on Friday, CMS announced the formation of a new “Title IX task force” that will aim to ensure all sexual allegations within the school system are thoroughly investigated. According to the federal law known as Title IX, schools that receive federal funding, as those in CMS do, must address all complaints around sex-based harassment — including assault — when they arise. Two lawsuits stemming from the Myers Park incidents claim the school did not respond appropriately to allegations made by students.
According to an email from CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston to all CMS staff, the new task force will consist of more students than staff, and will look into what steps CMS is taking to thoroughly investigate all allegations of assault, harassment or other Title IX violations within the school system. The task force will deliver its final report with recommendations to the superintendent for review before Oct. 29.
Gun Rights Groups Sue Mecklenburg County Sheriff
A coalition of gun rights organizations along with three residents of Mecklenburg County are suing the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office over a failure to meet state-mandated guidelines to issue pistol permits within 14 days of the date of the application, and concealed handgun permits within 45 days. The lawsuit asks a judge to order MCSO to comply with state law and immediately issue both permits to qualified applicants.
In a press release on Thursday, an MCSO rep said the department had not received nor seen the lawsuit, but did admit to not being able to meet the timelines required by law since the pandemic sent gun demand skyrocketing while limiting the capacity of the sheriff’s office.
The MCSO also released some numbers on Thursday regarding the increased demand. Between March-June 2020 the monthly average of permit applications climbed to approximately 4,698, which included an all-time high of approximately 6,425 in June. In comparison, the monthly average applications in March-June 2019 was approximately 1,389. Nov. 20, 2020 registered the highest number of outstanding applications with approximately 13,434. In comparison, the number of outstanding apps on the same date prior to the pandemic was 192.
COVID Metrics Continue to Rise Due to Delta Variant
At a press conference on Wednesday, Gov. Roy Cooper introduced the third winner of the North Carolina vaccination lottery: 18-year-old Audrey Chavous of Winston-Salem, an incoming Fayetteville State freshman. He also shed light on the increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases statewide, stating that the test-positivity rate in North Carolina at that point was 12.2%.
According to the CDC COVID tracker, only two counties in the state have below “substantial” transmission rates, and a vast majority are designated as high-transmission areas. In Mecklenburg County, the public health department announced the 1,000th death as a result of COVID-19 among county residents this week.
During his Wednesday press conference, Cooper noted that state employees in executive cabinet agencies would need to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or begin going through weekly testing beginning on Sept. 1, and he encouraged private businesses to implement similar requirements.
“We need all of us to come together and do what we can to increase our vaccination rate and stay safe from this disease — and that includes the private sector, nonprofits, doctors, schools and health departments,” Cooper said.
According to the most recent data from MCPH released Friday, there had been 121,792 total cases of COVID-19 among county residents and 1,000 deaths up to that point. That is an increase of 2,809 cases and two deaths since the same time last week. More in-depth data for cases that had occurred up to Wednesday showed all metrics on the rise, with an average of 394 laboratory confirmed infections reported per day over the past week compared to 341 confirmed infections per day in the previous two weeks.
There were also an average of 166 people hospitalized due to COVID-19 on any given day over the past week, more than double the amount reported last week, and an average test-positivity rate of 12.4%, up from 8.6% last week.
Social Media Star Arrested in Charlotte
Hayes Grier, 21-year-old internet personality and younger brother of Carolina Panthers quarterback Will Grier, was arrested in Mecklenburg County on Friday afternoon for allegedly attacking a man and stealing his phone at an Uptown apartment complex on July 26. WSOC-TV reported that Grier and Luke Foushee, 21, attacked the victim, leaving him with bruised ribs and a broken eye socket, after an argument over who made more money. Grier is charged with assault resulting in serious bodily injury, common law robbery and felony conspiracy. He was released from jail Friday night on a $17,500 bond.
Person Killed in Southwest Charlotte
Police responding to an assault call at an apartment complex in southwest Charlotte found one person dead on Friday evening. The call came in just before 6 p.m. on Friday, and officers responding to Holliswood Court in the Colonial Village apartments off South Tryon Street found one victim dead of a gunshot wound. No other details are yet known.
Also this week, police announced that two homicides that occurred earlier in the year — Jonathan Robinson, killed during a home invasion in January; and William Alexander, shot and killed in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood in April — have been deemed justified. In all, there have been 59 illegal killings in Charlotte this year.