Local News

Ex-Teacher Charged With Sex Crimes Against 5 Young Children

Posted September 20, 2006

— A former Chapel Hill teacher is awaiting extradition back to North Carolina after being arrested in Virginia and charged with sexually abusing five young girls ranging in age from 5 to 8.

Immigration agents arrested Eric Grange at Dulles International Airport on Sept. 6 after Chapel Hill police alerted them that he was wanted on five counts of statutory first-degree sex offense and four counts of indecent liberties with a child.

Grange, 43, of Raleigh, is being held in Arlington, Va., and is expected to return to Chapel Hill later this week.

According to police, officials at Chapel Hill's Montessori Community School reported their suspicions to police on June 20.

"When questioned about the incident, the teacher resigned and immediately left the school," school spokeswoman Amy Tiemann said in a statement.

Prior to working in Chapel Hill, Grange worked at the Montessori School of Raleigh and the Heartwood Montessori School in Cary. In the late 1990s, he also worked as a researcher at North Carolina State University.

"He seemed like a natural teacher. He was a very gentle person," said Dr. Robert Grossfeld, an N.C. State zoology professor who hired Grange. "He seemed like somebody who would get along with children, so I wasn't completely surprised that he would make that transition."

Currently, there is no indication that Grange had been under investigation for any allegations involving the Raleigh or Cary schools where he worked. He had passed a criminal background check before he was hired at the Chapel Hill school.

"I'm disappointed. I guess these are allegations at this point," Grossfeld said. "There was no reason to suspect he would wind up with allegations of that kind."

The Montessori Community School is located in a small portion of Chapel Hill that covers Durham County. All legal proceedings will be handled in the Durham County courts.

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