Police: Theatre manager had sex with School of the Arts student inside the school

Carl Barnwell Jr., 30, of Charleston, was arrested yesterday and charged with sexual battery of a student. (provided)

A Charleston County School of the Arts theatre manager is accused of having sex with a high school student on school grounds, according to police.

Carl Barnwell Jr., 30, of Woodmere Drive in Charleston, was arrested yesterday and charged with sexual battery of a 16-year-old student. He appeared before a bond court judge this morning.

The girl’s parents spoke to the judge during the hearing. “We’re sorry the school system let this happen on the premises,” the girl’s father said in court. “The school system has to change. Someone has to be smart enough to change this. We have to protect our kids.”

Barnwell is accused of having sexual intercourse with the student on the school’s property between March 1 and May 30, according to an affidavit.

The student told police that she has had sex with Barnwell about once a week since December 2012, according to the court document.

She also told investigators she had sex with Barnwell on two separate occasions at the school’s “upstairs area of the theatre,” the affidavit stated.

Barnwell admitted to police he had sex with the student on school grounds, according to the affidavit.

His attorney, David Aylor, who appeared before the judge this morning, said that Barnwell graduated from the College of Charleston with a theatre degree.

This was Barnwell’s second year working as a theatre manager for the School of the Arts, Aylor said. He also told the judge that Barnwell has no prior record.

“We do want him to be able to get out of jail and be productive in his life with his family,” Aylor told the judge.

Magistrate Judge Linda Lombard set bail at $50,000.

Barnwell was immediately placed on administrative leave following his arrest, according to school district officials.

The school’s principal reported to police that a parent had told her that she had “compelling evidence of a teacher having a inappropriate relationship with student,” a police report stated.

Police interviewed that parent who told investigators she had letters between her daughter and the alleged victim talking about an affair between a student and teacher, the report stated.

The letters were later obtained by police. The alleged victim also identified Barnwell as her mentor and “tech teacher.”

“Providing a safe and secure learning environment for all our students continues to be our top priority,” stated district spokesman Jason Sakran in a statement released yesterday.

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Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.