Kernersville police detectives allege in search warrants that Michael Todd Pegram used his position as a counselor at the Kernersville Family YMCA to meet young boys he later sexually assaulted at his home and at the YMCA in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Those search warrants also allege that Pegram video recorded some of those sexual assaults and that he kept cassettes either in one of the sheds at his house or in a tin box he buried in the backyard.
Pegram, 46, of Bridge Creek Boulevard in Ocoee, Fla., was indicted Monday on 21 counts of taking indecent liberties with a child, five counts of first-degree sex offense, one count of attempted first-degree sex offense and one count of statutory sex offense. The indictments allege the offenses happened between Jan. 1, 1991, and Dec. 31, 2001, with eight different boys who were at least 12 years old or under age 16, depending on the charge.
At the time of his arrest last year in Florida, Pegram was employed at Walt Disney World. The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office arrested Pegram on Nov. 8, 2017, in front of one of Walt Disney World’s All-Star resorts, according to an article in the Nov. 29, 2017, edition of the Orlando Sentinel.
According to the newspaper, a Disney spokeswoman described Pegram as a cast member and said he was put on unpaid administrative duty, pending the results of the criminal charges. Walt Disney officials told the Winston-Salem Journal that Pegram does not currently work for the company but declined to provide any other details, including what his position was, how long he had worked for the company and the circumstances of his leaving.
The YMCA of Northwest North Carolina has said Pegram worked at Kernersville Family YMCA from March 1988 to March 2002. He also was a volunteer firefighter with the Piney Grove Fire Station. He owns MTP DJ Productions, which provides entertainment services for weddings and other events. The company has hosted events for the cities of Winston-Salem and Ocoee, Fla., and the town of Kernersville. According to a 2007 Winston-Salem Journal article, Pegram was the DJ for a city-sponsored free concert for teenagers called The Drop.
According to three search warrants, Kernersville police detectives began their investigation of Pegram after a man reported on May 28, 2017, that Pegram sexually assaulted him 40 to 50 times when the man was between the ages of 10 and 16. The alleged sexual abuse happened between 1996 and 2002. The man told police that Pegram abused him at Pegram’s house in the 200 block of Adams Street in Kernersville.
The man later told police that he remembered video equipment in Pegram’s bedroom wherethe alleged sexual assault occurred and that he saw Pegram put several cassettes he believed contained evidence of the assaults in a tin box. The tin box was wrapped in duct tape, and Pegram buried it in the backyard of his house.
Kernersville police also talked to another man who accused Pegram of sexual assault. That man told police he remembered a video camcorder in Pegram’s bedroom and that a red recording light was on during some of the times Pegram sexually abused him.
According to the search warrants, detectives identified seven alleged victims who said Pegram sexually assaulted them at his house. Some of those victims told police Pegram also sexually assaulted them at the Kernersville Family YMCA at 1150 W. Mountain St., the search warrants said. An additional man alleged that Pegram sexually assaulted him only at the YMCA.
“All of the victims reported that they came into contact with Pegram as a function of his position at the YMCA,” according to the search warrants. The warrants said Pegram worked as a counselor and later became a “teen director.”
Carrie Collins, a spokeswoman for the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina, said Wednesday that law-enforcement agencies have only asked YMCA officials to provide information about the dates of Pegram’s employment.
“We provided the employment information and will continue to fully cooperate with authorities if there are additional questions,” Collins wrote in an email.
Last year, a spokesperson with the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina told WGHP/Fox8, the Winston-Salem Journal’s news-gathering partner, that YMCA officials were not aware of any incidents at the YMCA or that involved YMCA participants. The spokesperson said YMCA officials take children’s safety seriously and have certain protocols in place. They also conduct full background checks on potential employees, the spokesperson said.
Kernersville police found a witness who wanted to maintain her anonymity and is not named in the search warrants. That witness told detectives she knew that a video recording existed that showed Pegram sexually assaulting a boy. She told police about a person who had seen the video. That person told police that when he was a teenager, he was an assistant for Pegram’s company. He said Pegram sent him to Pegram’s house to get a videocassette, the search warrants said.
Because the cassettes were unlabeled, the assistant started watching the videos to find the right one. One video showed Pegram and a boy whom the assistant recognized performing oral sex on each other, according to the search warrants.
Kernersville police executed a search warrant on two storage sheds at Pegram’s property, which he had rented to a couple. They didn’t find any videotapes showing sexual assault. Another 50 VHS cassette tapes were later found in the backyard in September, but it was not clear whether they showed any alleged sexual assaults.
Pegram is being held in the Forsyth County jail with bond set at $2 million. A trial date hasn’t been set.