12 On Your Side: Deputies worry there could be more victims in principal sex scandal

By: Elizabeth Owens Email
By: Elizabeth Owens Email
Mason Cummings

Mason Cummings resigned from his job as principal six days before his arrest. (WRDW-TV / Dec. 14, 2011)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011

SALUDA COUNTY, S.C. -- Sheriff's deputies worry that there may be more victims in the case involving a former Ridge Spring-Monetta High School principal.

Chief Deputy William Freeman of the Saluda County Sheriff's Office says "there's a very good possibility" of more victims.

Mason Cummings, 38, was arrested earlier this month after resigning from his job as school principal.

According to the victim, Cummings was her eighth grade teacher at Ridge Spring-Monetta Elementary/Middle school at the time of the incident.

Investigators say the victim came forward in September. She told them she was 13 years old when she started being more than just friends with Cummings. She claims their relationship became sexual when she turned 15 years old. She says some of their sexual encounters took place at school.

"We could not prove to any sexual relationship before the age of 16; after the age of 16 we can prove inappropriate relationship," Freeman said.

For that reason, Cummings was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The age of consent is 16 in South Carolina. A new law is in place that criminalizes relationships between teachers and students but it did not go into effect until last year.

The victim claims the relationship began more than 12 years ago and continued for eight.

Karen James was a student of Cummings when the alleged relationship began.

"It's just a shocking matter," she said. "He was good to me, he was a good teacher."

She said she never heard of any sort of inappropriate relationship between her teacher and a classmate.

Cummings has bonded out of jail.

News 12 found Cummings at home with his children on Thursday. His wife was not there. He said he could not comment on the case.

News 12 also spoke with the victim's family who said they could not talk about the incident.

Deputies are asking any possible victims to come forward. Please contact your local Sheriff's Office if you know anything about this case.


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