The trial for former New Hanover County Public schools band teacher Peter Frank will begin on May 9. The trial was supposed to start earlier this year but was pushed back due to a “recent surge in COVID-19 cases.”
Peter Michael Frank was charged with six counts of indecent liberties with a child and six counts of indecent liberties with a student in January of 2022. At the time he was charged, he was 47 years old.
The alleged incidents related to Frank’s 12 charges at the time of his arrest by the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office involved at least six students and took place between 2003 and 2019.
At the time of arrest, a $750,000 bond was issued to Frank but as of this article, he remains incarcerated at the New Hanover County Detention Facility.
In March following Frank’s arrest, N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein issued a statement indicating a Grand Jury in New Hanover County had returned an indictment charging Peter Michael Frank with 17 new counts, bringing the total charge count to 29.
New charges included first-degree sexual offense, statutory sex offense with a person who is 13, 14, or 15, sexual activity with a student, indecent liberties with a child, and indecent liberties with a student.
According to Stein’s press release, the indictment alleges that Frank committed the crimes while teaching at Roland-Grise Middle School. His victim was a minor and a student at the same school according to the indictment. The incidents allegedly occurred between September 1998 and August 2000.
New Hanover County Public Schools fired Frank after the school board met on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020, for a lengthy closed session.
According to Frank’s termination letter, the board claimed to have no prior knowledge of the misconduct that led to the criminal charges against him. The letter says the board believed there is “sufficient evidence” to support “immediate dismissal” based on the charges.
The letter also said the district will inform the Dept. of Public Instruction and have Frank’s teaching license revoked, however, as of May 7, 2022, the license disciplinary page maintained by the State Board of Education does not show any action against Frank.
New Hanover County Public Schools has been rocked by serial predator issues among its teachers in the last five years. The most prolific of which is Michael Kelly, who was taken into custody in February 2018 and later pleaded guilty to upwards of 60 sex crime charges involving students and minors.
Another New Hanover teacher, Nicholas Oates, was arrested in July 2018 on one count of indecent liberties with a child and one count of statutory rape of a child under the age of 15.
Oates died of liver failure before heading to trial and was apparently the brother of the New Brunswick Schools superintendent, Dr. Jerry Oates. According to reports by Port City Daily, Oates had a significant criminal record yet the district hired him anyway.
The school district is currently being sued in both the Kelly and Frank cases by plaintiffs represented by the Rhine Law Firm.
In addition to Frank, Kelly, and Oates, the district has seen four other employees arrested.
In the fall of 2021, New Hanover teacher Terry Wayne Hughes was arrested for assault on a female, and teaching assistant Sequana Brown was arrested for simple assault and misdemeanor child abuse involving a 12-year-old student.
In April of 2021, two New Hanover educators were arrested within weeks of each other; Ronnie Strickland and David Bostian.
Strickland, a retired volleyball coach, was arrested on two counts of sexual activity by a custodian for alleged offenses dating back to the 80s.
Bostian was accused of two counts of a sexual offense by a government employee. Bostian committed suicide hours after being released on bond.