A grounds supervisor at Mitchell Community College faces charges that he stalked an early college student and committed sexual battery following an investigation by the Statesville Police Department.

John Barkley

The SPD announced the arrest of John Phillip Barkley, 59, of Stony Point in a news release Tuesday afternoon.

The SPD Criminal Investigations Division began investigating on Monday, November 15, after being notified that a student enrolled in the early college program on the Statesville campus wanted to report being stalked by Barkley, police said.

The student, who is enrolled in the Collaborative College of Technology and Leadership (CCTL), and her parents met with Sgt. P.C. Wolfe and Cpl. C. Cleary at the SPD headquarters, where an interview was conducted, according to the news release.

During the interview, the victim told Investigators the stalking started around October 25 with the suspect following the victim to and from her classes, police said. The suspect also followed the victim to her vehicle, yelled at her and beat her car window, according to the news release.

The victim stated the stalking escalated from there, and she provided details of other encounters with the suspect to Investigators, police said.

Cpl. Cleary obtained warrants charging Barkley with indecent liberties with a student, sexual battery, three counts of misdemeanor stalking, and one count of assault on a female.

Alexander County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Barkley on Monday. He is being held in the Alexander County jail.

CCTL is an early-college program run by Iredell-Statesville Schools on the Mitchell Community College campus.

After news of Barker’s arrest broked Tuesday, Mitchell and I-SS officials said that student safety is a priority. 

“We take the safety of our students very seriously,” I-SS Superintendent Jeff James said in a news release. “We appreciate the swift work of Chief Addison and the Statesville Police Department. The safety and well-being of our students are paramount on all of our campuses, including our early college students who attend the MCC campus in Statesville.”

“Mitchell always places our students first. This starts with their safety as the number one priority,” added Mitchell Community College President Dr. Tim Brewer. “We also appreciate the swift action of the Statesville Police Department.”

Barkley was placed on administrative leave by Mitchell Community College as soon as college officials learned of the allegations. He has been employed as a grounds maintenance supervisor at the college for 10 years.

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