A Goose Creek High School assistant principal who is accused of having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old student occasionally watched the girl on the school’s surveillance cameras, an attorney alleged during the man’s first appearance before a judge on a criminal charge.
Paul Jette Herman, 36, of Cicadas Song Drive in Moncks Corner faces one count of sexual battery with a student, without aggravated force or coercion — a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. He had a bond hearing Wednesday morning in Berkeley County and Judge James Polk granted a personal recognizance bond of $100,000.
In addition to watching the girl, the alleged victim’s attorney Peter David Brown told the judge that Herman, a married father of three, also pulled her out of her classes so that he could spend time with her.
Brown described the girl as a “young” 16 year old with very little experience with boyfriends.
“We expect our children to go to school and grow and learn in a safe environment — not to be preyed upon,” Brown said.
Brown asked that Herman be placed on electronic monitoring to ensure that he remained away from the girl and her family, but Polk said that as a magistrate judge, he didn’t have the authority in Berkeley County to grant that request.
Speaking on behalf of the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office, Detective Cpl. Rikki Cortte said the girl and her family were “naturally very emotional” about the situation. As an educator, Herman had been trusted with the well-being of area students, Cortte said.
“He broke, violated and dishonored that trust,” Cortte said.
The Sheriff’s Office received a complaint Monday detailing a sexual encounter Herman allegedly had with the girl on Friday, an arrest affidavit stated. The relationship began in December 2014 and lasted until this week, according to sheriff’s deputies.
The girl’s mother told investigators she found suspicious text messages on her daughter’s cellphone and questioned her about them.
As an assistant principal, Herman had access to the girl’s personal files, records and grades and would show them to her, Brown said.
“Whether (he showed the files) to impress her or intimidate her, I’m not sure,” Brown said.
Herman spoke only through his attorney, Cameron Blazer, who asked the judge to set an “appropriate” bond, considering the allegations did not suggest Herman was violent or used force.
After granting the personal recognizance bond, Polk told Herman the bond’s conditions included staying away from playgrounds and other areas where he could encounter children.
Herman’s father attended the hearing and spoke only to say that he could help shuttle his grandchildren to and from their schools if needed.
Herman was a Mount Pleasant police officer from 2001 to 2005, according to state Criminal Justice Academy records. He then taught at Cross High School in Berkeley County from 2005 to 2012 before becoming an assistant principal at Goose Creek High School, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Goose Creek High School’s website listed Herman as principal of the Science, Technology, Engineering, Math Academy departments. He was placed on administrative leave following his arrest Tuesday.
Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or at Twitter.com/celmorePC.