The jury trial for Goldsboro resident and former Faith Christian Academy teacher Anthony Warren Riley got underway Wednesday at the Wayne County Courthouse, more than two years after he was arrested in connection with allegations that he sexually assaulted at least two underage girls between 1994 and 1996.
Riley, 54, was arrested by Goldsboro police Aug. 7, 2020 in connection to the case, according to the warrant for his arrest.
A Goldsboro police news release distributed at the time of Riley’s arrest states his arrest followed a Goldsboro police investigation that started June 23, 2020 when police received a complaint of an alleged sexual assault that happened in the mid-1990s while the victim was attending Faith Christian Academy, located at 1200 W. Grantham St.
At the time of the alleged sexual assault, Riley was a teacher at the school, according to the release.
The investigation led police to discover a second victim who was a juvenile and alleged she had been sexually assaulted, Goldsboro police said. Riley was identified as the primary suspect, which led to his arrest. Goldsboro police identified the juveniles as being 11-year-old girls at the time of the alleged assaults.
The warrant for Riley’s arrest states Riley allegedly engaged in sexual acts with one of the girls between October 1994 and July 1995 and the other between October 1995 and July 1996.
As a result of the alleged incidents happening, Riley was charged with attempted first-degree statutory sexual offense and three counts of felony taking indecent liberties with a child, the warrant states.
Staff at Faith Christian Academy confirmed Wednesday that Riley was previously a teacher at the private Christian school, but did not confirm over what time frame he worked at the school.
The school, which is part of Faith Free Will Baptist Church, released a statement regarding Riley’s case Tuesday.
The statement reads in part, “A couple of years ago, we were made aware of allegations by a former student of inappropriate and unlawful conduct, alleged to have occurred approximately 27 years ago by a former teacher. The matter is currently pending in the court system.
“The current and former staff of Faith Christian Academy and Faith Free Will Baptist Church have cooperated with the authorities in the investigation of this alleged conduct. Our church and school ministry has not tolerated and will not tolerate child abuse in any form. We are fully committed to ministering to our community in a safe and responsible manner.”
More than 80 people filled a Wayne County courtroom, No. 4, on Wednesday as they waited to be called for jury selection in the case.
Wayne County Clerk of Court Julie Whitfield led the jury selection process. Each seat in the courtroom was filled, leading Whitfield and other staff to have to place some jury candidates into the jury box as they waited for proceedings to start.
Whitfield did not confirm how long the trial could potentially take, but a video played for the jury pool stated the trial could take a week or more depending on how everything plays out.
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