Former SMS principal faces sex charges

Published 8:01 am Wednesday, April 1, 2009

CHESTERFIELD—A former principal of Southampton Middle School will appear in court Thursday to face charges that he had a sexual relationship with a juvenile inmate at a correctional center where he worked.

Claude Andrew Harris, 36, most recently an administrator at the Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center in Bon Air, was charged with four felony counts of carnal knowledge.

Harris was indicted on the charges in November.

According to the indictment, which was obtained by WTVR-TV in Richmond, “on or about March 1st through October 31st, 2007, Harris feloniously and unlawfully, being a provider of services to juveniles, carnally knew the victim.” The court documents say the girl was 15 years or older at the time of the alleged relationship. Prosecutors told WTVR that the listed offense happened over a 7-month period

Harris was the principal of Southampton Middle School from 2002-05. He also was the former principal at the correctional center’s school.

More than a dozen witnesses were subpoenaed to testify Thursday, many of them employees at Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center.

If convicted, Harris faces up to five years in prison on each charge. He is currently out of jail on a $15,000 bond.

Win Sisson, a spokesman for the Department of Correctional Education, said the department would have no comment about the case.