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Dunn Teacher Suspended; Investigators Sifting Through His Past

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FAYETTEVILLE — The investigation into a CumberlandCounty teacher accused of child molestation is widening. More potentialvictims are stepping forward and it appears this case could involve yearsof child abuse.

An investigator in Dunn told WRAL-TV5'sRick Gallthat more victims are comingforward, both male and female. Most were between the ages of 6 - 13 at thetimes they say they were abused. Some of the accusations date back to theearly 1980's.

Thus far, Bill Bates, 53, is charged with molesting a 6-year-old Dunngirl. According to court papers, the child and another accuser have toldpolice that Bates took nude photos of them. Investigators have enteredBates' home with a search warrant where they confiscated several camerasand a number of photographs.

Investigators will not discuss that aspect of the search at this timepending further investigation.

Bates is married and a father. His arrest sent shock waves through thePine Forest Middle School in Cumberland County, just north ofFayetteville, where he has worked for the past 22 years teaching art andsocial studies. He is well known for wearing appropriate costumes duringhis lessons on the Civil War.

Pine Forest Principal Marvin Lucas says Bates was like by students.

Parent Delores Stern has children at Pine Forest. She says they likeBates.

Student Shannon Ray said she has always thought Bates was "cool".

Lucas says he knows of no student at Pine Forest who has accused Batesof abuse.

A teacher told Gall that there is some concern about Bates' healthbecause he has had some heart problems in the past. Currently, he is inthe Harnett County jail being held on $120,000 bond. He has been suspendedwithout pay from his teaching job and the superintendent of schools hasrecommended that he be fired.

Bates currently faces three charges. All of the surround charges madeby the same 6-year-old girl.

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