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Professional Molie Had at Least 15 Victims

Charlotte- Jimmie Grubbs, a former Huntersville teacher accused of molesting students, arrived in the Charlotte area after a string of bad business deals left him bankrupt, court records show.

The picture that emerges from those records and from interviews with former acquaintances is of a man who professed deep religious faith, and who was so adept at winning people’s trust that neighbors, relatives and fellow church members loaned him thousands of dollars.

Those records, contained in Grubbs’ 2000 federal bankruptcy court filings, show how he cajoled and pleaded with impatient lenders, even telling them he considered it un-Christian to file for bankruptcy not long before he did just that.

He lost his house and his car along the way, leaving a trail of debts and unkept promises from Winston-Salem to Myrtle Beach.

Now, church officials are probing the former Sunday school teacher’s past, asking parishioners to report any suspicions about Grubbs’ relationships with children in their churches.

Authorities have said they think Grubbs may have been committing sex crimes for years. Police have said they are looking into more than 15 possible victims.

Grubbs, 66, borrowed money as he pursued his dream of lucrative marketing deals, but some of his creditors never got their money back.

“He was pleasant enough,” said Beth Witherspoon, an S.C. real estate broker who manages condos where Grubbs once lived. “He was a good talker, … always on the verge of a big breakthrough (in business).

“I do remember he did not pay his rent. He got way behind and eventually I had to evict him.”

Grubbs and his wife, Patricia, filed for bankruptcy in 2000 in federal court in Statesville.Grubbs wrote letter after letter to his creditors, updating them on his business deals and pleading for their patience when things went badly.

His letters and business documents suggest he passionately believed he could make himself and his friends wealthy by using contacts he claimed in NASCAR. He hoped to sign deals with a major corporation to market race-related merchandise.

From 1990 to 1998, the bankruptcy court records say, he obtained loans from at least 27 people. One Winston-Salem couple, Eugene and Peggy Dillard, loaned him at least $20,000.

Grubbs wrote that he had contracts and agreements with Chevrolet and other major companies to produce belt buckles and pocket knives with the insignia of NASCAR drivers such as Dale Earnhardt.

He projected his profit for 1990 at $1.2 million, court documents show.

But in October 1990, he wrote the Dillards to say he was having problems. By February 1991, he was blaming the sluggish economy and the first war in Iraq. Five months later, he wrote saying he’d borrowed money from his mother-in-law to keep the business going, and that he doubted things would improve.

He wrote that he was “getting out of this business as fast as I can,” but promised again to repay the Dillards. By the next spring, the Dillards still hadn’t been paid and wrote Grubbs, threatening to sue him.

Eugene Dillard, reached last week, wouldn’t comment on Grubbs.

Grubbs eventually repaid the Dillards most, if not all, of the money, using the estate his mother-in-law left.

But other creditors weren’t so lucky. One man who played on a church-league basketball team Grubbs coached in the 1970s in Chicago’s suburbs said in an interview that Grubbs never repaid him the more than $1,000 he was owed.

He said Grubbs’ wife recently called him to ask for help paying legal bills. Grubbs is in a Mecklenburg jail on state and federal sex-crime charges stemming from allegations made by three students.

Priscilla Grubbs told him her husband was “arrested on indecencies,” said the former church-league basketball player, who asked to remain anonymous. “She said of course it’s not true.”

He didn’t loan her any money. Priscilla Grubbs couldn’t be reached for comment.

Letters in the court file show that in 1995, Grubbs told the Dillards he was moving from Winston-Salem to Little River, a community near Myrtle Beach. He said he was closing his company, J. Grubbs Enterprises.

But by February 1997, he was again looking to raise money, this time writing letters to friends about “the hottest product I have ever handled” — a throw toy.

In a letter to a friend, he said he expected to make deals with McDonald’s and the military. But by September, he was writing letters to “Christian friends and relatives” who had given money, begging for trust.

“I am deeply depressed,” he wrote, “but have not and will not lose my faith in my God and Jesus.”

He didn’t get a single order for the throw toy, he disclosed in one letter.

In January 1999, he wrote his backers to say he’d fallen more than $65,000 in debt, and his home and car had been repossessed. He said someone had suggested he declare bankruptcy to dodge his creditors, but he said “we as Christians would never do such a thing.”

Grubbs wrote that he had a new job working with NASCAR and large corporations again, and expected to repay everyone by year’s end.

“We beg you not to take us to court to settle any of this between us,” he wrote. “We would be totally ruined with our manufacturers who supply the products we are selling.”

By November 2000, however, he had moved to Cornelius and filed for bankruptcy.

Three years later, he began working as a teacher at Bradley Middle School in Huntersville. He taught there until May, when he resigned as Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools investigated allegations that he’d had improper contact with students.

As the criminal investigation continues, Huntersville police say they are working with officials in Myrtle Beach and Winston-Salem to determine whether more potential victims exist.

Two Methodist churches in Winston-Salem that Grubbs attended in the 1980s — Maple Springs and Mount Tabor — have sent letters to their congregations saying that anyone with information about Grubbs should come forward.

It is unclear whether the search includes other public school systems where Grubbs may have worked. Officials in Illinois, where Grubbs lived in the 1970s, say he completed his degree at an Illinois college and was issued a teaching certificate in 1977.

The Illinois State Board of Education said it had no information about him teaching after he received the certificate.

Officials with the Winston-Salem area’s school system said he never worked as a teacher there. Myrtle Beach-area school officials couldn’t be reached Friday.

An N.C. Board of Education attorney said Grubbs was issued a provisional N.C. license in 2003.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools reiterated Friday that it felt it handled the Grubbs situation appropriately, and plans to ask for his certificate to be revoked if he’s found guilty.

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