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Local man charged with sex offenses

By By SARAH HODGES, Staff Writer
A Washington man has been charged with various sex offenses by the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office following a brief investigation.
According to the Sheriff's Office, Aydrian Lewis Richardson, 22, of 624 Plymouth St. was charged Tuesday with statutory sex offense against a person who is 13, 14, or 15 years old by a defendant who is at least six years older than the victim; indecent liberties with a child; and felonious dissemination of obscenity to a minor under 16 years of age. All the charges are felonies.
The earliest offense dates to March 2002, according to the Sheriff's Office. The offenses were spread out over the past year, law enforcement authorities said.
Richardson is a senior at East Carolina University in Greenville in the North Carolina Teaching Fellows program. That program awards a $6,500 annual scholarship for each of four years of study to 400 outstanding North Carolina students. Accepting a Teaching Fellows scholarship means a student agrees to teach for four years following their graduation from a university.
The Teaching Fellows must work in the North Carolina public schools or United States Government schools in North Carolina. If they cannot repay their scholarships through service, they must repay the funds to the state with 10-percent interest.
Richardson was identified by Beaufort County Schools Superintendent Anthony Parker as a student intern at Eastern Elementary School in Washington prior to the investigation.
Richardson was working under the supervision of a teacher in a first-grade class.
Parker confirmed Richardson has not been on the Eastern Elementary campus since March 4. The superintendent also confirmed Richardson has been released from his agreement to work as an intern and will not return to the school.
Parker emphasized that the victim in this case is not an Eastern Elementary student.
Richardson also worked over the past several months as a part-time news and sports photographer for the Daily News.
On March 3, the Sheriff's Office said it received a report from a mother indicating a 21-year-old man may have been involved in a sexual relationship with her 14-year-old son.
Investigator Kenneth Watson interviewed the victim and his mother on the evening of March 3. During the interview, Watson discovered the suspect allegedly had downloaded obscene material from the Internet and had delivered it to the 14-year-old, according to the Sheriff's Office.
On March 4, Watson applied for and was granted a search warrant which allowed him to search the suspect's residence and computer, the Sheriff's Office reported. On the same date, officers from the Sheriff's Office and the State Bureau of Investigation executed the search warrant; they seized several items, including Richardson's computer, according to the report.
After turning himself in to law enforcement authorities on Tuesday, Richardson was remanded to the Beaufort County Jail under a $20,000 secured bond issued by Magistrate Donald Sadler. He later was released on bond. No information was available about a trial date.