DUNN — Neighbors say he is a respected community member and a well-liked middle high school teacher. Dunn Police say he is a sexual predator.
An investigation that lasted several weeks could turn up charges that go back several years and involve several victims. Bill Bates, a history teacher, at Pine Forest Middle School in Cumberland County is charged with several sex crimes involving a 6-year-old girl. Bates live in Dunn, and so does the alleged victim. Police expect more charges to follow.
Fifty-three-year-old Bill Bates is charged with first degree statutory sex offense, first degree statutory rape, and taking indecent liberties with a minor. He is not charged with anything involving his own students. WRAL tried to get his side of the story from relatives at his home in Dunn. But as of this report, they have no comment.
Police think Bates is a child predator, and they believe there are other victims they haven't heard from. Police are interviewing people Bates may have come into contact with when they were between the ages of 6 - 13 over the past 17 years.
Investigator Alyson Bunker hopes that this report will encourage others to speak up. Bunker says there are no time restrictions and no statute of limitations. Dunn Police believe Bates' crimes span over a number of years.
Bates' next door neighbor told WRAL'sMark RobertsBates is a good man and good neighbor. That neighbor confessed to being very shocked over the allegations.
Bates is being held under $100,000 bond in the Harnett County Jail. The Cumberland County Schools were made aware of the charges against Bates Thursday. They say Bates will be suspended without pay pending an investigation.
If you have any information to offer about this case, you are urged to call Dunn police.