Lincoln Times-News Staff
A Lincoln County Department of Social Services unit supervisor resigned Nov. 27, three days before Charlotte police charged him with the rape of a woman he oversaw at DSS.
According to Mecklenburg County records, Sherman Pride, 43, of 19041 Oakhurst Blvd. in Cornelius, was arrested Nov. 30 at his home on a charge of second degree rape by force against the will of the victim.
A woman who was under Pride’s supervision has said she and Pride went out for drinks Nov. 10 and ended up at her room together, where they engaged in sexual activities, according to Charlotte Mecklenburg Police. But when she refused to allow him to go further, he raped her, police said she told them.
Police indicated the woman contacted them about the incident on Nov. 13.
Lincoln County officials talked with the Times-News about the situation this week, after the newspaper received an anonymous tip.
Both Assistant County Manager Martha Lide and Department of Social Services Director Susan McCracken said Pride was not forced to resign. It was unclear whether county officials knew about the accusation or about his impending arrest when he quit. Employee privacy restrictions limit what they were able to discuss with the newspaper.
DSS has a specific policy forbidding the type of sexual relationship that is alleged to have taken place, even if the activities had been fully consensual:
“DSS employees should avoid engaging in sexual relationships with colleagues when there is the potential for a conflict of interest, i.e. with an employee, student, volunteer, etc. over which one exercises supervisory/professional authority.”
McCracken said DSS takes every action and opportunity to screen prospective employees, including references and background checks. She said there no red flags regarding Pride when he was hired.
Asked about the impact on the unit that Pride oversaw, which works with children, McCracken said she was confident that the system “already in place” would have turned up any irregularities, so no special investigation is being conducted.
She said there’s been no indication of any misconduct that would have affected the cases he was overseeing.
She said she invites community members, including law enforcement, to contact her about any concerns with Pride’s conduct of his job, or with concerns about any other DSS issues.
“Community trust is important,” she said.
McCracken said Pride’s position has not yet been filled.
Jenna-Ley Harrison, Sarah Lowery and Frank Taylor contributed to this report.