Originally created 02/09/00

Band director remains in police custody



NORTH AUGUSTA -- Bond was set at $10,000 Tuesday for a North Augusta band director charged with embezzling public funds.

But late Tuesday evening David Faulk still was in the custody at the Aiken County Detention Center. Because of the arrest, Aiken County school administrators have recommended he be fired from a job he has held for less than six months.

North Augusta police, who intervened in the Faulk case after a request from the school district, are disclosing few details about the case because Mr. Faulk might face charges unrelated to embezzlement, Chief T.L. Wetherington said.

Chief Wetherington said his department is investigating allegations of "inappropriate behavior toward students," but no one has lodged an official complaint.

According to police reports, Mr. Faulk, 45, of Evans, conducted a fund-raiser in September without getting permission from the school principal or the band boosters. Police reports say money was raised but do not mention how much.

In the fund-raiser, students sold novelty items, including candles and tins, which was a departure from their usual fruit sale in December, said David Leverett, president of North Augusta High School's Band Booster Club.

Last week, Mr. Leverett said a few parents questioned why checks they had written for the fund-raiser had not been cashed, and he asked school officials to find out.

While those checks did not generated cash, school officials found in an internal investigation that the unauthorized fund-raiser did generate cash, and some of it was missing. That's when North Augusta authorities were asked to investigate.

The school said $7,263 was missing. Mr. Faulk could not account for the money, a police incident report stated.

The band director was arrested without incident at the North Augusta office building where he works part time, Chief Wetherington said.

Verne Rushton, a softball coach and English teacher at the high school, was cleared by police Tuesday. He also was being investigated for mishandling money from a fund-raiser. He returned to campus Tuesday.

Reach Chasiti Kirkland and Katie Throne at (803) 279-6895.