A former Macon County Educator was arrested by the State Bureau of Investigations last week and charged with statutory rape of a 15 year-old-girl. Following an investigation, David Milhous Peterson, 32, was charged with felony statutory rape. At the time of the investigation, Peterson was employed as a deputy with the Swain County Sheriff’s Office assigned as a school resource officer (SRO) at East Swain Elementary.
Peterson was arrested by the SBI and was placed in the Macon County Detention Center. Peterson posted bond at $50,000, according to Macon County Sheriff Robbie Holland. The case remains under investigation by the SBI.
According to Swain County Sheriff Curtis Cochran, Peterson was new on the job. “The SBI is still investigating and we won’t have anything until the investigation is completed, however Peterson was only employed with us for approximately three weeks and was under supervision during this time,” said Cochran. “He was a science teacher at the high school before coming to work with us and came highly recommended by the school system. He was placed on suspension immediately as we were aware of the situation and was terminated the following day.”
Peterson’s background check didn’t raise any flags when being considered for employment.
“He had no criminal background whatsoever,” said Cochran.
During Peterson’s career as an educator, he was employed by the Macon County Board of Education for a short time. Macon County Superintendent Dr. Chris Baldwin confirmed that Peterson was employed in Macon County for two years as a science teacher at Franklin High School. He left the Macon County school system in 2007.
The SBI’s investigation lead law enforcement officers to Macon County, where detectives believe Peterson and the alleged 15-year old female victim had consensual sex. Because the alleged victim is more than six years younger than Peterson and the two are not married, Peterson was charged with statutory rape.
Swain County Schools administrators have declined to comment until the investigation is complete.