Pictured above: Derone McNeil – Picture courtesy of the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office
STATESVILLE, NC (WSIC) – The former Statesville Christian School Athletic Director facing more than 80 sex crime charges has been released from jail after his bond was reduced from $2 million to $100,000.
Derone McNeil was ordered by Judge Christine Underwood to have no unsupervised contact with children under the age of eighteen unless they are his own children and to have no contact with the victim or the victim’s family.
McNeil has retained attorney Ken Darty to represent him. According to Judge Underwood’s LinkedIn profile, she was employed by Darty’s firm after receiving her law degree in 2004.
Underwood declined to comment on the reason for McNeil’s bond reduction when contacted by WSIC via email.
“I make it a policy not to make public statements regarding ongoing cases” wrote Underwood, noting she had described her reasoning in open court Monday.
Attorney Ken Darty says the reduced bond amount is consistent with bonds received by “other white teachers” charged with more serious crimes. He accuses the Statesville Police Department and the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office of doing a poor job investigating the case and says had the agencies contacted the District Attorney’s Office in advance there would not be any charges against his client. Darty says there is not a more fair judge in district or superior court than Ms. Underwood and says it was only a result of regular scheduling that he appeared in her courtroom.
WSIC has reached-out to the prosecutor handling the case.
McNeil is charged with numerous counts of second-degree rape, second-degree forcible sex offense and sexual activity with a student. Both the Statesville Police Department and the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office filed charges in the case. Statesville Police Department Investigators say the crimes they charged McNeil with occurred between 2012 and 2014 and involved a student at Statesville Christian School.
He has been suspended from his current job with Iredell-Statesville Schools.
Stay with WSIC for continued coverage of this developing story.