WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after a middle school band teacher was charged with 12 felony sex crimes.
A press release from the sheriff’s office says Peter Frank faces six charges of indecent liberties with a child and six charges of indecent liberties with a student by a teacher.
An investigation revealed the alleged crimes stretch from 2003 to 2019 and involve six female victims.
“Everyone has commented and said I always thought something was up, I always knew something was weird, I can’t believe it took this long to come out," said Jana, one of Frank’s former students. “I was never a direct victim of what happened, but thinking back I do know there were other girls in our classes that spent a lot of time in that office. And I just hope that if someone else did have something happen to them they’ll be more apt to come forward and talk about it especially if it’ll help those that have been recently affected by what’s going on."
Deputies were called to Roland Grise Middle School after receiving the reports. Frank is listed as a band teacher on Roland Grise Middle School’s website.
New Hanover County Schools officials said Tuesday that Frank currently suspended with pay and has been since Jan. 23.
“New Hanover County Schools have been alerted to the recent arrest of Pete Frank by the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office,” NHCS said in a statement. “The district is cooperating fully with the NHCSO as they continue their investigation. If NHCS can confirm the allegations against Pete Frank the district will take the appropriate actions including and up to dismissal and revocation of teaching licenses. We hold our educators to the highest standards, the greatest responsibility placed upon all NHCS employees is the safety and well being of our students.”
Frank has been with the school system since July 7, 1997.
The district notified parents Tuesday in a letter written by Roland Grise Principal Charlie Broadfoot.
“Roland Grise administration and student support services are here to work with students should they have any concerns surrounding this incident or if they simply need to talk. Our number one priority is the safety and well-being of our students and we will continue to support students through this trying time,” Principal Broadfoot wrote.
According to New Hanover County Schools, he also was suspended in December of 2015. He was suspended with pay Dec. 3, 2015, while an investigation was completed. Beginning Dec. 9, 2015, he was suspended without pay for 10 days for an incident not involving students.
Frank voluntarily turned himself in to authorities Monday night, according to the sheriff’s office.
At a bond hearing Tuesday afternoon, Frank’s bond was set at $750,000. Each charge of indecent liberties with a child carries a max of 59 months in prison if convicted. The charges for indecent liberties with a student carry a penalty of two years each.
District Attorney Ben David says the investigation into Frank was initially launched after one of the victims, now over the age of 30, approached the district attorney’s office.
One of the victims is at the middle school still, while others are now in high school.
“We frequently tell our children, if they see something they should say something… What I will say, is that we as adults need to monitor that behavior too," district attorney Ben David said. “There is no statute of limitations on a felony in North Carolina, and there is nothing we won’t do to investigate these claims. I applaud the courage of this woman who came forward.”
Because the incident was reported to an employee of the district attorney’s office, the case has been referred to the state attorney general, the same office investigating the failure to report allegations out of the Michael Kelly case.
Anyone with information is asked to please contact the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office at 910-798-4260.