STATESVILLE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - 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.
“I felt like it was kind of more for shock value. It was more to appease the public,” McNeil’s attorney Ken Darty said. “I have people now charged with first degree murder that don't have bond more than $5,000."
News Partner WSIC News reports that Derone McNeil was ordered by Judge Christine Underwood to have no unsupervised contact with children under the age of 18 unless they are his own children and to have no contact with the victim or the victim’s family.
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 News 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.
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.
Darty says the reduced bond amount is consistent with bonds received by “other white teachers” charged with more serious crimes.
“The Statesville police chief went on record and indicated my client was not a flight risk, so if you came to that conclusion, I thought the bond was unreasonable,” Darty said. “The charges were so far grossly leveled there's no way they would've talked to anyone in the DA's office.”
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.
He also wants to give context to charges against his client, saying the person accusing McNeil wasn't a minor at the time.
“I will say the accuser reached legal age no matter what may or may not happen. This was not any case of statutory allegations.”
Darty admits the allegations against McNeil seem extreme, but he wants people to wait for all the facts come out before making a conclusion about his client.
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.
News partner WSIC News from Statesville, North Carolina contributed to this report.