Augusta's NAACP President removed after investigation into possible sexual abuse

Charles Smith, Sr.
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Monday, Oct. 13, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Dr. Charles Smith is out as head of Augusta's NAACP as allegations of sexual abuse resurface.

Sex abuse allegations surfaced against Charles Smith in 2001 while he was band director at Josey High School. Those allegations made headlines across Augusta, but the NAACP said they knew nothing about them, but as soon as they learned they started their own investigation.

As of last night, Charles Smith is no longer the president of the Augusta NAACP.

"Charles Smith happened to be president of the NAACP, but he is not the NAACP," Johnson said.

Georgia NAACP President Francys Johnson says the group began investigating allegations that Smith made sexual comments to students in 2001 while he was band director at Josey High School.

"At the heart of these allegations against Mr. Smith is a disrespect for the dignity and self worth of those women and the NAACP will not stand for that," said Francys Johnson.

In 2001, several allegations surfaced about Smith's alleged sexual comments to students. In May of that year, Smith was suspended for 30 days. That ended his time in the classroom, and finished out his contract working for the transportation department. He resigned in May 2002. In 2003, Smith became president of the Augusta NAACP.

All of these allegations against Charles Smith all occurred prior to his affiliation with the NAACP.

The Georgia NAACP says they've spent the last four to six months gathering documents after abuse advocates from the website I breath I rise brought the allegations to their attention. Johnson said after looking at all of those documents they decided last month to begin the process of firing smith.

Multiple students accused Smith, but he was never charged. Some of Smith's alleged victims took the web to talk about their experiences.

"We are working to make sure that the victims of sexual assault in this instance or any others feel comfortable coming forward. This tragedy allows folks to come forward and accept truths that happened to them then that is one good thing that will come of this," Johnson said.

An interim Augusta chapter president has been named. She is Beulah Nash-Teechey.

The NAACP made a reporting hotline for people with any information regarding allegations against Smith. You can call at 800-448-1750.

Monday, Oct. 13, 2014

AUGUSTA (WRDW) -- The President of Augusta's branch of the NAACP has been removed.

Charles Smith Sr. was dismissed after allegations of sexual abuse and abuse of power, Francys Johnson, President of Georgia's NAACP, said.

"The organization started an independent investigation that lasted several months and just wrapped up," Johnson said in a release. "According to our preliminary investigation, every allegation reported occurred prior to Charles Smith, Sr's affiliation with the Augusta Branch NAACP."

Dr. Beulah Nash-Teechey has been named Interim President for Augusta's NAACP branch, Johnson said.

Johnson said he will be traveling to Augusta this afternoon to meet with Georgia NAACP leaders and to hold a news conference. Details are still being finalized.

One of the Smith's alleged victims, Ebony Harvey, is talking to News 12's Christie Ethridge this afternoon.

Johnson said the heart his organization's fight is a respect for the dignity and self worth of every human being including Ebony Harvey.

Leaders and members of Georgia's NAACP are "deeply concerned about the mishandling of the prosecution of Charles Smith," Johnson said.

In 2001, News 12 reported Smith was suspended and removed as the Director of Josey High School's band after being accused of making sexual comments to students. School leaders moved him to the Transportation Department until the school year ended and resigned after that.

The Georgia NAACP says any alleged victims of Smith are asked to call 800-448-1750 to share their story and information about what the victims say happened.

"Information received [in the hotline] will be forwarded to law enforcement," Johnson said.