Jury finds former NHCS teacher Peter Frank guilty of sex crimes against student
BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — It took a Bladen County jury less than 30 minutes to convict a former New Hanover County Schools teacher of sexually abusing a student.
Former Roland-Grise Middle School band teacher Peter Frank was found guilty of all 17 counts, including indecent liberties with a child and student, first degree sexual offenses with a child 13, 14, or 15, and sexual activity with a child and student.
Frank faces decades of prison time. His sentencing will be in Bladen County Court Thursday at 10 am.
Frank’s attorney motioned to dismiss the verdict. The judge denied the request.
The alleged crimes happened between 1999 and 2019, though this trial mainly discussed one specific female victim’s abuse between 1998 and 2000.
The case was moved from New Hanover County to Bladen County due to conflicts of interest within the New Hanover County District Attorney’s Office. The North Carolina Attorney General’s Office tried the case.
Tuesday, the State recounted evidence in its closing arguments, including a bottle found in Frank’s office decades after he allegedly instructed a child to simulate oral sex with it.
They also reviewed recorded conversations Frank had with law enforcement, admitting to an attraction to young girls. Law enforcement found naked pictures of middle school girls’ backsides on Frank’s phone and computer. When shown the pictures, Frank identified each of the girls, saying he thought they were pretty.
The defense countered that the victims who spoke in this trial are also involved in a lawsuit against New Hanover County Schools, and therefore stand to financially profit if they win this case. He also pointed out one of the victims did not immediately tell officers about a sexual encounter when at first questioned.
Though no jurors wanted to go on camera, three did say the decision was a straightforward one after hearing the evidence.