Calvin Bell-Tharpe was arrested in June on a charge based on a recently enacted law concerning a school employee having sex with a student. A second charge of sexual misconduct was filed for allegedly molesting the same 16-year-old student.
According to Northview’s website, Bell-Tharpe had been a Dothan educator since January 2006. He worked as an art teacher and was the head tennis coach for the school, the website said. He graduated from Dothan High School and later earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Troy University.
Dothan police charged Bell-Tharpe with allegedly having sex with the boy who was a student at Northview High. Investigators said the allegations stem from the victim being picked up twice and taken to a home that belonged to a relative of Bell-Tharpe.
According to a story on a bond reduction hearing in June, Dothan police Investigator Reyna Johnson said on the first occasion the two ate dinner together. Johnson said the offenses occurred on the second occasion, after the victim had apparently fallen asleep on a couch while watching television.
“He was asleep, and it woke him up,” Johnson said. “He (Bell-Tharpe) then invited him back to the bedroom in the house for sex. He says he did not consent to it, that he felt pressured or forced to do it.”
Johnson also testified of a revealing Facebook conversation between Bell-Tharpe and the student that included such phrases as “Be real pretty boy.” She also testified Bell-Tharpe allegedly sought pictures of the student through the Facebook conversation.
Johnson also said police are investigating Bell-Tharpe’s cell phone usage.
“He sent a picture of graphic nature by cell phone to the victim,” Johnson said.
Johnson said during cross examination that police did not find out about the allegations until May. But she said there had been an ongoing internal investigation by the school since November 2010. She acknowledged Bell-Tharpe remained employed as a teacher during the school’s investigation.
Johnson said the offenses allegedly happened between Halloween and Thanksgiving of 2010.
Alabama legislators passed a law in July 2010 which makes it a felony crime for a school employee to engage in a sex act with a student. The class B felony crime comes with a punishment of two to 20 years in prison, if convicted.