Middle school band teacher facing child rape charges dating back 30+ years


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – An Orange County Schools employee was arrested Friday morning on child sex charges that date back more than 30 years, according to records.

William Thomas Pendergrass III, of Raleigh, was taken into custody around 8 a.m. Friday on charges of indecent liberties with a child and statutory rape/sex offense of child 15 or younger.

William Pendergrass (Raleigh/Wake CCBI)

The charges, filed by Cary police, date back to July 14, 1986, through July 13, 1987, and involve a victim who was 15 at the time, arrest records show.

Pendergrass has been placed on administrative leave from the Orange County School System while the district investigates.

The school system said it learned of Pendergrass’ arrest Friday.

“The charges do not involve the Orange County Schools or our students, but are based on alleged conduct from years ago outside of the Orange County Schools,” a spokeswoman for the district said.

Pendergrass began working for Orange County Schools on Aug. 19. He was listed on the Gravelly Middle School website as its band teacher.

Pendergrass turned himself in at the Wake County Detention Center. The Wake County Sheriff’s Office said the case is being investigated by Cary police.

He charged with three counts felony indecent liberties with a child and three felony counts statutory rape/sex offense of child 15 or younger.

Pendergrass is being held in the Wake County Detention Center under a $1.6 million secured bond. He’s scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 7.

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