STATESVILLE, N.C. — Police said a former teacher at Statesville Christian School is in custody and facing charges after being accused of sexually abusing a student for more than two years.
The Statesville Police Department said 47-year-old Derone Martin McNeill is 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.
On Wednesday, the Iredell County Sheriff's Office said McNeill was taken into custody in Forsyth County. Deputies charged him with 2 counts of felony second-degree forcible rape, two counts of felony second-degree forcible sex offense and three counts of felony sexual activity with a student by school personnel.
They said an investigation revealed McNeill sexually assaulted a student multiple times beginning in Feb. 2012 and continuing through May 2014. He was the former athletic director at Statesville Christian School.
The Iredell-Statesville School District said McNeill has been employed at Pressly Alternative School since May of 2017 as a teacher assistant and bus driver.
The investigation began when an administrator with Statesville Christian School came to the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office with concerns. A detective was able to find the victim and interviewed her. The student told detectives she had been sexually assaulted by McNeill several times between the years of 2012 and 2014.
Based on evidence gathered from the interview, additional crimes occurred in the city limits, and the Statesville Police Department was notified.
Detectives tried to get a statement from McNeil but he declined to speak to investigators. Based on the information and evidence, arrest warrants were issued for McNeill on Tuesday, March 26.
In all, McNeill faces more than 70 charges. He was placed in the Iredell County Detention under a $2 million secured bond.
Parents told Channel 9 they were notified about the allegations.
"Got a message saying this is Pressley," parent Rebecca Marin said. "Allegedly there was sexual abuse."
District officials said McNeill was suspended with pay pending an investigation.
Police said they want to know if there could be other victims because the suspect has spent years around children.
"We're actually not certain. That's the reason why we're extending it out to the public,” Statesville Police Chief David Addison said.
Police are asking any other victims or witnesses to contact the Statesville Police Department Criminal Investigations Division at 704-878-3515 or Cpl. Deal at 704-878-3518.
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