PG NewsPG delivery
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Home Page
PG News: Nation and World, Region and State, Neighborhoods, Business, Sports, Health and Science, Magazine, Forum
Sports: Headlines, Steelers, Pirates, Penguins, Collegiate, Scholastic
Lifestyle: Columnists, Food, Homes, Restaurants, Gardening, Travel, SEEN, Consumer, Pets
Arts and Entertainment: Movies, TV, Music, Books, Crossword, Lottery
Photo Journal: Post-Gazette photos
AP Wire: News and sports from the Associated Press
Business: Business: Business and Technology News, Personal Business, Consumer, Interact, Stock Quotes, PG Benchmarks, PG on Wheels
Classifieds: Jobs, Real Estate, Automotive, Celebrations and other Post-Gazette Classifieds
Web Extras: Marketplace, Bridal, Headlines by Email, Postcards
Weather: AccuWeather Forecast, Conditions, National Weather, Almanac
Health & Science: Health, Science and Environment
Search: Search by keyword or date
PG Store: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette merchandise
PG Delivery: Home Delivery, Back Copies, Mail Subscriptions


Headlines by E-mail

Headlines Region & State Neighborhoods Business
Sports Health & Science Magazine Forum

Dirty Secrets case file: Preston Barnes

Tuesday, November 02, 1999

By Jane Elizabeth Zemel, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

The 40-year-old teacher who was charged in March with molesting a disabled teen-ager in Wake County, N.C., will never stand trial. Preston Douglas Barnes died a few days later in a Prince George's County, Md., motel room, of an apparent drug overdose.

Investigators later found child pornography in his apartment. And they also found that he had been charged with public lewdness, child sexual abuse, endangering the welfare of a child, unauthorized counseling of students and other offenses over a 15-year period before being hired in Wake County.

But Barnes was never convicted in any case, all of which occurred in New York, and his court records were sealed. Because North Carolina school officials do not conduct national fingerprint checks on applicants, they didn't find out about Barnes' previous arrests.

Penelope Clute, district attorney in Clinton County, N.Y., prosecuted one of Barnes' cases. A teen-age boy had reported to police that Barnes exposed himself and masturbated while sitting next to the boy in a health club sauna.

With no witnesses, no evidence, and Barnes' word against the boy's, Clute lost the case.

"[The jurors] were not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt," said Clute in a recent interview. "They wanted something more. They wanted more than the witness testimony. There was no physical evidence."

New York school officials were quick to point out that Barnes never applied for a teaching certificate in the state of New York. If North Carolina state education officials had contacted their counterparts in New York, however, they would have found out about Barnes' arrests.

Clute had written a letter about Barnes to New York state education officials, who kept the letter on file -- just in case Barnes ever tried to become a teacher in New York.

bottom navigation bar Terms of Use  Privacy Policy