Education

Former Raleigh band teacher charged with statutory rape resigns from Orange County job

An Orange County band teacher charged with sex crimes dating back three decades has resigned, the school system said Thursday.

Bill Pendergrass, 60, who was teaching middle school band in Orange County Schools and is a former band director at Ravenscroft School in Raleigh, has been charged with statutory rape and taking indecent liberties with a child in 1986, according to Wake County court records.

Pendergrass, whose bail was set at $1.6 million, faces six felony counts, involving intercourse with a 15-year-old girl, warrants said.

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Pendergrass started working for Orange County Schools on Aug. 19, 2019, the school system previously said. He was placed on administrative leave the day he was charged, according to Teresa Cunningham-Brown, chief human resources officer for the school district.

He had been listed as a band teacher on the Gravelly Hill Middle School website, reported ABC11, The News & Observer’s media partner. The school is in Efland.

Ravenscroft letter

At Ravenscroft, Pendergrass was fired in May, according to a letter from school officials, The N&O previously reported. The letter said no illegal activity is believed to have occurred during his time at Ravenscroft, a pre-K through 12th grade independent day school on Falls of Neuse Road in Raleigh.

Orange County officials have also said they do not suspect any illegal activity during Pendergrass’s time there, The N&O has reported.

Pendergrass won a district award of excellence from the N.C. Bandmasters Association in 2013. He helped raise money for cancer research through the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

There is no statute of limitations on felonies in North Carolina, and alleged sex crimes have been prosecuted more than 25 years later, a UNC School of Government blog post noted last year.

Mark Schultz is the deputy metro editor for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. He has been an editor, reporter and photographer in North Carolina for 30 years.
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