South Carolina

Celebrated upstate high school teacher charged with sexual battery with a student

Romando Dixson

The Greenville News

Erickson Lamar Bynum
Erickson Lamar Bynum Greenville County Detention Center

Investigators charged a celebrated Southside High School teacher in connection with numerous sexual encounters with a student and the attempted sexual assault of two others, the Greenville County Sheriff's Office said Thursday.

Erickson Lamar Bynum, 38, of Simpsonville, was charged this week with sexual battery with a student and two counts of second-degree assault and battery, according to arrest warrants. He was arrested Wednesday and released from the Greenville County Detention Center on his own recognizance.

Greenville County Schools placed Bynum, an award-winning teacher at Southside High, on leave May 3 after allegations about inappropriate contact with a student. The Sheriff's Office investigated and alleged Bynum had sexual relations with a student numerous times in the teacher's classroom dating to August of this school year. The acts happened unlawfully but without force or coercion, according to an arrest warrant.

Investigators also alleged Bynum attempted to sexually assault two other students at off-campus locations. One of the incidents happened at Bynum’s residence on Bethel Road and another at a victim’s residence, Master Deputy Drew Pinciaro said.

Bynum was hired as a substitute teacher at Southside High in 2005 and became a full-time English teacher in 2006, the school district said.

“As with all Greenville County Schools employees, a background check was run on Mr. Bynum through SLED and a multi-state database prior to his hiring. His record was clear,” Elizabeth Brotherton, a spokeswoman from the school district, said in an email.

State law requires a teaching employee remain on paid leave pending completion of “due process requirements,” Brotherton said.

In 2011, Bynum, a speech and debate coach, was among eight teachers in the country honored with the Diamond Award from the National Forensic League. Teachers qualified for the honor based on how many students they coached and how well those students performed in competition.

Staff writer Donna Isbell Walker contributed to this report.

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