ECMS teacher to face rape charge

Published 11:39 pm Wednesday, October 20, 2004

By By Arthur McLean
Victor Payne, Escambia County Middle School P.E. and science teacher faces rape charges after his arrest Friday.
Victor Labaron Payne, age 34, of Mobile, was charged with one count of Rape in the second degree by the Escambia County Sheriff's Office.
"The investigation began last week when a parent of a 9th grade student at Escambia County High School reported to the Alabama Department of Human Resources that her daughter had sex with a teacher at the Atmore Middle School when she was a student there," said Cpt. Chuck McMullen of the Escambia County Sheriff's Office. "The Escambia County Regional Child Advocacy Center became involved to assist with the investigation along with investigators with the Sheriff's Office."
Because of the victim's age, investigators did not release details about the incident, other than to say they believed it took place during school hours. Alabama law does not recognize the capacity for consent of youth under the age of 16.
Investigators questioned Payne on Friday, and later that same day Payne was arrested. Payne was released from the Escambia County Detention Center on $50,000 bond Saturday.
"The facts of the case were reviewed with the District Attorney's Office and we determined there was enough probable cause to make an arrest," McMullen said.
"The other information that was obtained through interviews and physical evidence will be presented to the next Escambia County Grand Jury and they will determine if any further charges are necessary," he said.
"We also have asked the Alabama Bureau of Investigation to assist us in this case by reviewing our case files and to check with authorities in Mobile to see if there are any possible victims in Mobile County." McMullen said.
McMullen said the investigation into Payne's activities in the Atmore area would continue, and any further evidence would be presented to the grand jury, scheduled to convene in January.
Payne has been suspended with pay from the school system, pending further review, school board officials said. School superintendent Melvin "Buck" Powell was not available for comment at press time.
Payne is related to ECMS principal Herbert Payne, but the Atmore Advance was unable to verify the relationship at press time.

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