A Statesville area assistant teacher has been charged with 78 felonies related to the alleged sexual abuse of a student spanning a two year period.
Derone Martin McNeill, age 47, is charged with 26 counts each of second-degree rape, second-degree forcible sex offense and sexual activity with a student. The alleged crimes occurred during a two year period between February 2012 through May 2014.
Second-degree rape carries a sentence of between 44 and 182 months in prison depending on any past criminal activity. Rape in the second degree is established if the person engages in vaginal intercourse with another person who is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless or with another person by force and against the will of the other person. Second-degree rape is a Class C felony.
Second-degree forcible sex offense carries the same sentence parameters as second-degree rape. Second-degree forcible sex offense is defined as a person who engages in a sexual act with another person by force or is engaged in with a person who has mental disability or who is mentally incapacitated or physically helpless “and the person performing the act knows or should reasonably know that the other person has a mental disability or is mentally incapacitated or physically helpless.” This charge is also a Class C felony.
Sexual activity with a student carries a penalty from 3 to 12 months and is often determined based on past criminal record or history. This offense is defined as any education professional who is “at least four years older than the victim engages in vaginal intercourse or a sexual act with a victim who is a student” at any time while both parties were at the same school. It is a Class G felony.
The Iredell County Sheriff’s Office first started looking into McNeill in the first week of March after a report about a possible 2011 sexual assault. The report involved a Statesville Christian School teacher and a student of the school.
This site reached out for comment from Statesville Christian School but did not receive a reply prior to publication.
At the time of his arrest, McNeil was working at Pressly Alternative School, which is part of the Iredell-Statesville district.
Upon request, Boen Nutting, Director of Communications and Development for Iredell-Statesville Public Schools issued a press release:
Statesville, NC – Derone Martin McNeill has been arrested by the Statesville Police Department and charged with 26 counts of second-degree rape, 26 counts of second-degree forcible sex offense and 26 counts of sexual activity with a student.
Based on information gathered during the investigation, it was determined the sexual assault occurred on multiple occasions beginning in February 2012 and continuing through May 2014, prior to McNeill’s employment with Iredell-Statesville Schools.
McNeill has been employed with the Iredell-Statesville School District since May of 2017, serving as a teacher assistant and bus driver at Pressly School.
Today, McNeill was suspended with pay, pending an investigation.
Nutting also said that “we do a complete background check on all of our employees and we also check references.”
According to the state’s teacher licensure lookup tool, McNeill is not a licensed teacher in North Carolina.
The Iredell Sheriff handed off the investigation to the Statesville Police Department since the crime allegedly happened within the Statesville city limits. The investigation is still ongoing and charges may be added by the Iredell Sheriff should any crimes fall in their jurisdiction.
Anyone with information encouraged to contact the Statesville Police Department Criminal Investigations Division at 704-878-3515 or Corporal Deal at 704-878-3518.