The trial of former Northview High School teacher Calvin Bell-Tharpe has been delayed until next month.
District Attorney Doug Valeska said the latest continence was upon agreement between his office and defense attorney Shaun McGee. Bell-Tharpe was originally scheduled to be tried in October, 2011. Proceedings were subsequently rescheduled for January, March, May, and now June. Valeska said he was hoping to move forward toward a trial set to begin May 14 but concedes it is in the best interest of judgement to delay the trial another time.
Bell-Tharpe is accused of having sexual relations with a male student---an act police say happened off-campus. Judicial filings show the alleged offense occurred November 1, 2010 though Bell-Tharpe was not arrested until June, 2011. An initial internal investigation, according to school administrators, failed to substantiate a criminal act took place.
A police investigator, testifying during a preliminary hearing following the arrest, claims Bell-Tharpe took the boy to an apartment belonging to a relative of the teacher. Officer Renya Johnson said the intercourse took place after the two dined together at the apartment and lasted for an undetermined amount of time--but possibly as long as an hour.
Meanwhile, defense attorney Shaun McGhee said his client denies the allegations against him.
Bell-Tharpe, who is now 31-years old, was an art teacher and tennis coach at Northview. He has since left the employ of the Dothan School System and is free on 175-thousand dollar bond.