North Carolina

Deputy police chief urged teen to drop sex-abuse charges at NC group home, report says

A top officer in a North Carolina police department tried to get a teenager to drop sexual-abuse charges against an employee of a group home he owned, a state report says.

James Hinson, who reportedly co-owns the group home, announced he would retire Friday from his job as the deputy police chief in Greensboro, the city said in a news release.

The state report, which focuses on the Center of Progressive Strides, doesn’t mention Hinson by name. But multiple media outlets, including the Greensboro News & Record, have reported that Hinson co-owned the home for teenagers.

A 15-year-old client in May told the center he was sexually assaulted, but staff members didn’t believe him, according to a report from the N.C. Division of Health Service Regulation.

The boy said two people tried to make him “drop charges,” prompting him to run away, the report says.

Those people were Hinson and co-owner Kevin Chandler, news outlets report.

Hinson said “there are many lies” in the state’s account and in June said he didn’t think there was a criminal act, the News & Record reports.

More recently, he told the newspaper: “As far as him being a victim or not being a victim, I can’t say whether or not the incident occurred or did not occur.”

Hinson in the state report said he thought the teenager “made up the incident to get out of the group home.”

Guilford County deputies on Tuesday arrested Richard Vernell Heath, 51, in connection with the case, WGHP reports.

He is facing charges of statutory sex offense and indecent liberties, state records show.

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