#teacher | Search warrants: Teacher previously counseled on inappropriate relationships with students

Peter Frank (Photo: New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Warrants from the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office reveal new details in the arrest of a New Hanover County teacher.

Roland Grise Middle School band teacher Peter Frank was arrested Monday and charged with 12 counts of child sex crimes.

According to an arrest warrant, the most recent incident between Frank and a student happened between June and December of 2019, when the child was just 12 years old.

Another warrant references an incident that happened back in 2004.

Detectives say the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office got a report from a former student at Roland Grise about a prior incident with Frank when she was middle-school aged.

A search warrant reveals that former student was surfing at Wrightsville Beach when Frank came to pick her up.

“The prior student explained Peter Frank picked her up and drove her to his residence, he drove her to Carolina BBQ to get food, then drove her back to hr residence,” the warrant said. “The student states she showed Frank her residence, while nobody was home, and they walked to a common area of the residence, and Frank kissed her.”

The warrant goes on to reveal another incident involving a second student. Detectives say she was around 13 years old when she was in Frank’s office at Roland Grise.

“She took a Diet Pepsi bottle and placed it in her mouth simulating a sexual act. The investigation revealed Frank kept the bottle for approximately 17 years in a drawer in his office,” the warrant said.

Detectives go on to say recent communication between the former student and Frank reveals Frank kept the bottle as a memento to the sexual act.

“When the prior student asked Frank why he still had the bottle, Frank messaged asking, ‘What man wouldn’t keep that?’” the warrant said.

Detectives say Frank admitted to keeping the bottle.

According to another search warrant, detectives searched Frank’s personnel records from Roland Grise. The records show Frank has been counseled on inappropriate relationships with students during his time at the school.

In Frank’s personnel records, detectives reportedly found a social media post where a student posted a picture in a bathing suit.

“Frank comments on the photograph saying, ‘I can’t say really what I want to say, but it might rhyme with lubes.’” the warrant said.

The warrant shows a letter was placed in Frank’s personnel file in 2013 about the incident. Another letter dated 1999 was also put in his personnel file, indicating Frank took a student to his home and played video games for several hours.

Detectives say Frank turned himself in to the sheriff’s office on January 24, and voluntarily handed over his cellphone to be searched.

“Upon reviewing the data from Frank’s cellular telephone, images of middle school aged females were located,” the warrant said. “The images portrayed the clothed backsides of female students. It is apparent that the students were not aware their photographs were being taken.”

When asked, Frank reportedly confessed to being sexually attracted to middle school aged females.

Detectives also asked Frank about an incident where he took a female student to her residence and kissed her. They say his story coincides with the student’s story, except for where he kissed her.

During a search of Frank’s home, detectives say Frank also allowed them to take his computers to be searched.

“Detectives located files on the computer labeled with female students’ names which contained clothed pictures of the female students,” the warrant said.

Frank began working with New Hanover County Schools in 1997. Frank was suspended with pay December 3, 2015 while an investigation was completed. Six days later, he was  suspended without pay for 10 days for an incident not involving a student. No word on what that investigation was concerning.

Frank is now suspended without pay.

Frank is charged with six counts of indecent liberties with a child and six counts of indecent liberties with a student.

He appeared in court on Tuesday. The case is being turned over to the NC Attorney General’s Office because there is a conflict of interest. An employee in the New Hanover County District Attorney’s Office will serve as a witness in the case because one of their friends reported being assaulted.

He is being held under a $750,000 bond.

 


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