• 73°

Lawyer speaks about alleged sexual assault at Tarheel ChalleNGe

An attorney for the cadet who says she was allegedly assaulted by an employee of Tarheel ChalleNGe Academy says staffing problems at the school played a role in the incident.

Bakari Sellers, of Strom Law Firm in South Carolina, who is one of three attorneys representing the victim and her family, said that through their investigation, they learned “there has been a problem with staffing at the ChalleNGe Academy and that allowed someone like Mr. Eudy to have full reign over the young ladies and prey on them when he wished.”

Cody Lee Eudy, 28, a former employee of the academy in New London, was arrested for second degree forcible sexual offense and having sexual activity with a student. Sheriff Jeff Crisco said detectives were called to the academy May 30, a day after the victim was allegedly assaulted in her dorm room.

Sellers noted that too often at night there were not enough female staffers around to adequately monitor the female cadets, which placed someone like Eudy in close contact with them.

Eudy was listed as an assistant team leader/cadre at the academy and first began working there in August 2020, according to his public Facebook page.

Sellers said he and the other two lawyers, Chance Lynch of Raleigh and Chantel Cherry-Lassiter of Durham, are also aware that Eudy had “some inappropriate conversations with multiple girls.”

“We just feel like there was a complete failure all around by that state institution,” Sellers said. “Unfortunately they (female cadets) were not treated with the respect and dignity that they should have been.”

Crisco said there was not a female staff member working the night of the alleged assault. He was of any inappropriate conversations with female cadets.

Tarheel ChalleNGe Academy is a “quasi-military style program for at-risk teens 16-18 years of age,” according to its website. It is sponsored by the North Carolina National Guard.

The victim’s mother, who Sellers said “is completely outraged” about what happened, was attempting to help her daughter continue her educational pursuits when she enrolled her in the academy this spring. The mother was the one who contacted Sellers, who then reached out to the other attorneys.

Sellers took time to thank the Stanly County’s Sheriff’s Office for its work in quickly apprehending Eudy.

“This Sheriff’s Department has done great work and handled this case with sincerity and truthfulness and I look forward to working with them further,” he said.

Sellers and the other attorneys will speak on behalf of the victim on June 21, which will be Eudy’s first court appearance. He’s currently in jail on a secure $100,000 bond.

The academy could not be reached for comment. Last week, an official with Tarheel ChalleNGe Academy, declined to comment on the arrest, stating that it’s still an open investigation and “we are not at liberty to discuss anything.”

The Sheriff’s Office previously had been called to the academy in February of last year following the death of a cadet.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

email author More by Chris