GREENSBORO — Jurors told the judge in the sexual abuse trial of a former teacher at Lindley Elementary on Thursday that they may be unable to reach a unanimous verdict.
Randall “Randy” Lee Clawson, a former English as a second language teacher at the school, is charged with four counts each of first-degree sexual offense with a child, sexual activity with a student by a teacher and indecent liberties with a child, and three counts of first-degree kidnapping.
Judge Christopher Bragg of Guilford County Superior Court sent jurors home Thursday night with the admonition, “Don’t watch ‘Law & Order.’ ” He told jurors they should spend the evening doing something other than thinking about the case.
“You need to get away from this and do something else,” Bragg said.
Jurors spent a full day Thursday deliberating and rewatching video statements before telling the judge that 10 jurors had come to a conclusion, but the remaining two did not agree. Bragg ended their deliberations at 4:40 p.m.
The jury will have to ultimately decide whether Clawson, as authorities allege, repeatedly sexually assaulted a first-grader at Lindley. Guilford County Schools put Clawson on leave while the allegations against him were investigated. He was later fired.
The student testified in court that Clawson forced him into a school bathroom, told him to pull down his pants while cornering him and then touched him inappropriately before making the boy reciprocate. The boy, now 11 years old, testified that the alleged abuse began in first grade and continued through the third grade.
The News & Record does not name victims of sexual assault.
Clawson said the abuse never happened.
“God, no,” the teacher said during testimony.
Thursday marked the ninth day of the trial.
After three hours of deliberation Thursday, jurors asked for poster-size paper, markers, tape, a timeline of events created during the trial, blueprints of two floors of the elementary school and a video of a child advocate’s interview with the boy about what happened to him.
The jurors also wanted a second look at the video of Clawson’s interview with Detective M.E. Nero of the Greensboro Police Department.
Defense attorney Locke Clifford strongly objected to that request.
The judge said jurors could hear disputed parts of the recording.
Clifford didn’t want jurors to hear Nero ask if students didn’t like Clawson because he is gay. He also didn’t want jurors to hear the teacher’s original attorney imply that the boy made up the allegations because Clawson is gay.
“He could have parents putting anti-gay things in his head,” the attorney said on the DVD.
Clawson’s sexual preference was not disclosed during the trial.
“Frankly, I thought I would have a motion for a mistrial Monday but I didn’t,” Bragg told Clifford.
Bragg said jurors saw that portion of the video when it was played during the state’s case without objection from the defense.
Jurors requested but were not given a transcript of testimony from Bobbie Bingham, a counselor hired to help the boy with trauma from the alleged abuse.
Bragg said a substitute court reporter was used the day Bingham testified and it would take days to get a transcript to the jurors.
“We’re running a slippery slope,” Bragg said, adding that jurors heard Bingham’s testimony “and the 12 of them can use their recollections.”
Jurors also didn’t get a requested definition for the term “sick role,” which the boy’s family physician used in his notes.
Defense attorneys contend the boy “faked” his sickness during the doctor’s exam to avoid going to school.
The boy testified he pretended to be sick to get away from Clawson.
Deliberations are scheduled to resume at 9:30 a.m. today.