Former New Hanover teacher sentenced to 50 to 62 years in prison

Former New Hanover Public Schools teacher Peter Michael Frank has been sentenced to between 50 and 62 years in prison for sex crimes involving three former district students.

PETER MICHAEL FRANK - New Hanover - Quiet Epidemic

Peter Michael Frank

Frank’s trial had been ongoing since early May and on May 17 the jury found him guilty of seventeen felony counts related to the long list of indecent liberties charges against him.

It took the jury only about 30 minutes to return their decision finding Frank guilty on over a dozen of charges:

  • two counts of one count of sexual activity with a student
  • two counts of first-degree sexual offense
  • three counts of indecent liberties with a student
  • four counts of statutory sex offense with a minor that is 13, 14, or 15 years of age
  • seven counts of indecent liberties with a child and

On Tuesday, Frank pleaded guilty to 12 additional charges that were not part of last month’s trial.

Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Douglass B. Sasser handed down his final sentencing on June 7 for three consecutive sentences of 200 to 249 months in prison or roughly a span of 50 to 62 years.  Additionally, Frank will register as a sex offender.

Due to alleged conflicts of interest with the New Hanover County District Attorney’s Office,  the case was handled by the N.C. Department of Justice and Attorney General Josh Stein’s office. A Special Prosecutor named Bob Zellinger was assigned to the case.

“It seems that sexual abuse of students has become an endemic in New Hanover County Schools,” attorney Martin A. Ramey of the Rhine Law Firm said in a statement.

Ramey’s firm has been involved in civil action and has represented victims in both the Peter Frank and Michael Kelly cases, as has Mary Charles Amerson of the Lea/Schultz Law Firm.

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.

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a reporter currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_ Tips:
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