Maiden Police have arrested a Burke County sex offender and accused him of accessing a school property on three separate occasions throughout March and April.
Officers served warrants Friday afternoon on William John Abernathy, 34, for being on site at the Lucille Miller Observatory at Maiden Middle School during the evening hours of March 7 and 13, police said.
He again went to the location around 8 p.m. Friday, where officers arrested him, according to the Maiden Police Department.
Abernathy, a resident of 120 Dixon Street in Morganton, is a registered sex offender, and under North Carolina law, is prohibited from being on school property or any other property where children also reside.
He was placed in the Catawba County Detention Center under a $36,000 secured bond, police said, and charged with two counts of sex offender being on child premises and one count of failure to appear for the same charge.
Abernathy has been a registered sex offender since 2001, following release from prison, police said.
The suspect was convicted of second-degree sex offense in Catawba County in 1997 and served a 62-month incarceration period, according to the North Carolina Department of Correction website.
At the time of the incident, Abernathy was 16 and his victim, 9, the N.C. Department of Justice’s National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) listed.
Maiden Police Department investigated the recent case in conjunction with the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office and officials with Catawba County Schools.