Principal disputes former student's allegation of run-in with Etheridge

The principal of a school whose former student alleged a second physical confrontation with Rep. Bob Ethridge (D-N.C.) disputed that allegation on Friday.

Ben Greene, the retired principal of Pinecrest High School in Southern Pines, N.C., dismissed an allegation by one of his former students, Brandon Leslie, that Etheridge grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him after Leslie tried to introduce himself to the veteran lawmaker.

"The story in today’s Pilot is inaccurate," Greene said in a statement released by Etheridge's office, referring to the paper that reported Leslie's allegation. "I witnessed the event firsthand 14 years ago. The student was in the wrong, and Bob Etheridge acted appropriately at all times."

While Greene did not detail the nature of the exchange between Leslie and Etheridge, he took aim at the newspaper that reported the story.

"I would have been happy to tell the newspaper reporter the facts in this matter, but I was never contacted before the story appeared in the newspaper," he said.

The alleged second incident came after Etheridge was depicted in a video angrily grabbing a college student who confronted the congressman on a D.C. street with a video camera, asking whether or not Etheridge fully supports President Barack Obama's policy agenda. The video drew a great deal of attention on blogs, and Etheridge's actions — holding onto the student's wrist and brusquely wrapping his arm around the student — were widely condemned.