Ex-school worker faces sex charges

A former Chapel Hill Montessori employee is held in Virginia

From Staff ReportsSeptember 20, 2006 

A Raleigh man wanted on sex-related charges involving five children at a Chapel Hill Montessori school is in federal custody in Virginia, according to Chapel Hill police.

Eric Grange, 43, of 519 Banks St. faces five counts of first-degree statutory sexual offense and four counts of taking indecent liberties with a child, police said in a release.

The children, 5 to 8 years old, were enrolled in the Montessori Community School at 4512 Pope Road, where Grange worked, according to the release.

At the request of local law enforcement, Grange was taken into custody Sept. 6 -- almost two weeks ago -- by Immigration and Customs Enforcement at Washington Dulles International Airport. He was returning to the United States from a trip to Canada, said a Chapel Hill police spokeswoman, Jane Cousins.

Chapel Hill police didn't announce the arrest until Tuesday because officers were finishing their investigation, which included executing a search warrant in the past few days, said Police Chief Gregg Jarvies.

Grange has waived extradition and should be taken into custody by the Durham County District Attorney's Office by the end of the week, Jarvies said.

The Montessori Community School is in a part of Durham County inside Chapel Hill's town limits. All legal proceedings will be handled in the Durham County courts, the release said.

Police started investigating Grange on June 20, when school officials became aware of the allegations.

When confronted by school administrators, Grange resigned and immediately left the school, according to a statement released by the Montessori Community School.

Grange passed a criminal background check by the state Division of Child Development, according to the statement.

Reached at home Tuesday night, Barbara Crockett, the head of the school, referred all questions to parent and spokeswoman Amy Tiemann, who issued the school's statement.

Tiemann said she could not answer other questions about the school or Grange's employment.

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