/ / / / Man jailed on $1M bond for sexually assaulting 11-year-old girls in Durham School of Arts bathroom, police say

Man jailed on $1M bond for sexually assaulting 11-year-old girls in Durham School of Arts bathroom, police say

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – A man was arrested Tuesday for walking into the bathroom of a Durham middle…

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – A man was arrested Tuesday for walking into the bathroom of a Durham middle school and trying to solicit sexual activities with two 11-year-old girls, according to warrants obtained by CBS 17 on Wednesday.

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Police said Neal Harding walked into Durham School of the Arts on Oct. 28. Over the course of at least 20 minutes, Harding accosted two young girls who were alone in bathroom stalls and made sexual comments toward them.

One of the victims also said Harding grabbed her by the arm when she tried to leave the bathroom, showed her his genitals, and continued to solicit her, a warrant said.

According to a search warrant obtained by CBS 17 Wednesday, two 11-year-old girls were alone in a bathroom stall on separate occasions when the man approached them. Both told police that the man stuck his head over the stall and asked if they wanted to engage in sexual acts with him.

One of the victims told her sister what happened. The sister, in turn, told their aunt, who called 911.

Surveillance video showed the suspect was in the school for at least 20 minutes, according to the warrant.

Police released photos of the suspect on Oct. 29.

A Durham police sergeant who saw the bulletin said he recognized the suspect as Harding. He had encountered Harding during a call to service over a disputed financial card at a restaurant.

That call to service was a few hours after the incidents at Durham School of the Arts.

In the incident report, the man listed his name as Neal and gave his phone number. Police reviewed the bodycam footage from that call to service, determining that he matched the suspect shown in surveillance images.

Police were able to obtain Harding’s name from the 911 call associated with the incident at the restaurant.

A search for “Neal Harding” in the North Carolina DMV and criminal justice systems yielded Hardings’ records, along with a driver’s license photo that matched the appearance of the suspect from surveillance images, the warrant said.

Harding is charged with:

  • Four counts of taking indecent liberties with a child
  • First-degree kidnapping
  • Assault on a child under 12
  • Indecent exposure
  • Felonious breaking and entering
  • First-degree tresspassing

Harding was jailed on a bond of more than $1 million.

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