North Carolina Attorney General reacts to former NHCS band teacher sentenced for sex crimes
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - When you drop your children off at school each morning, safety is top of mind.
For more than 20 years, former Roland-Grise Middle School Band Director Peter Frank formed intimate and sexual relationships with some of his students.
“What we want to know as parents in North Carolina is that when our children go to school, little league, summer camp, when they’re online with their friends, that they’re safe. That’s the most important job we have as adults,” said North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein.
Frank was sentenced Tuesday to spend at least the next 50 years in prison for 29 charges of sex crimes involving his students. Charges show these crimes occurred between 1998 and 2019 during most of Frank’s tenure at Roland-Grise.
During last month’s trial, three of Frank’s victims came forward to share their stories of their relationships with Frank, painting the picture of a man they thought they could trust as he tried to become intimate with them.
“When someone has been abused the way that these children were, it takes a lot of work and time to work through those issues, and sometimes you never get fully to the other side,” Stein said. “But what I pray is that this verdict and the sentence will give them some hope, something to springboard and advance their healing.”
Martin Ramey is representing Frank’s victims in a civil lawsuit. He says there is more work to be done to protect children and students in New Hanover County.
“We have to pay more attention to peoples complaints, we have to investigate more, and we have to take the issue of childhood sexual abuse in our schools more seriously,” said Ramey.
Stein says the work to hold child predators accountable starts with passing laws that include mandated reporting. Similar bipartisan legislation was worked on last year.
“There’s always going to be work,” Stein said. “We can’t wish away the fact that there are deranged, dangerous people who are out to hurt others. So, what we have to do is strengthen our laws so that they protect us to the maximum level possible and then, when there are wrongdoers, we hold them accountable.”
A civil trial against Frank and the New Hanover County Board of Education is set for trial early next year. A separate civil trial involving the victims of former teacher Mike Kelly is set for this September.
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