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Trial begins for ex-teacher charged with sex abuse

Posted July 28, 2008

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— Jury selection began Monday in the trial of a former Chapel Hill teacher charged with sexually abusing five girls ages 5 to 8.

Eric Grange, 45, of 519 Banks St. in Raleigh, is charged with five counts of statutory first-degree sex offense and four counts of indecent liberties with a child. Police said the girls were abused at the Montessori Community School in Chapel Hill in 2005 and 2006.

Grange, a French citizen, resigned from the Montessori school in June 2006 after authorities questioned him about suspected abuse of students, school officials said. U.S. immigration agents arrested him at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C., three months later after warrants had been issued in the case.

The trial is expected to last four to six weeks, and six children are expected to testify against Grange.

"This is no way for a child to spend their summer break," said the mother of one of the girls. She said her daughter still struggles with what happened to her.

To protect the privacy of the girls and their families, Assistant Durham County District Attorney Jan Paul requested that the media be banned from the courtroom when the children testify.

"Cameras in the courtroom, even identifying the parents, would certainly identify the families and would definitely be to the detriment of the children," Paul said.

Defense attorney Thomas Manning agreed to the request to bar the media.

The case is being handled in Durham County Superior Court because Montessori Community School is located in the part of Chapel Hill that lies in Durham County.

12 Comments

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  • pebbles262004 Jul 29, 2008

    WOW SMITTY WOW!!!!!!

  • pebbles262004 Jul 29, 2008

    He will never actually get what he deserves. Maybe if he gets life the men in there will give him alittle taste of what he did and rip him one. As for the little girls they will never be right for the rest of thier lives . Myheart goes out to them and the parents that are having to deal with it. The parents put there kids there paying a fortune thinking that they were safe and then this happens. It is terrible

  • Dr. Dataclerk Jul 29, 2008

    Send this child molester to prison for life. Hopefully, there he will get his just. May the children after strong counseling and their parents there for them be able to move forward in their life. Its pitiful when a grown man; and a teacher at that has to resort to taking advantage of a child. Continue to pray for these children that they will not live in fear.

  • doubletrouble Jul 28, 2008

    Once the inmates find out what this gentlemen did, it will be quite the circus for him, if what he did is true. The children will suffer the rest of their lives over this trama.

  • deannaandgrace Jul 28, 2008

    Well said, Rev. RB!

  • Adelinthe Jul 28, 2008

    If he is found guilty, there will be no punishment great enough for what he did to these children - for nothing will bring their innocence back in this lifetime.

    Praying for them.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • canes017 Jul 28, 2008

    Sorry that a 200-300 person fight in a public place that is frequented by tons of kids gets more attention than this wakemom. This a terrible thing, but I doubt you'll find many other people who find this to be a bigger issue than a gang war taking place in a very public area.

  • wakemom Jul 28, 2008

    only 3 comments on this topic and it is very sickening. yet folks got a lot to say about the fight and low-income families in another thread.

  • garnertoy Jul 28, 2008

    he will get his

  • georgegorgeous Jul 28, 2008

    He actually looks like Bobcat Goldthwait.

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