As previously reported earlier this month, a New Hanover County Public Schools teacher was charged with multiple counts of indecent liberties with a minor as well as sexual exploitation of a minor. Over two dozen new charges have been added and 10 more victims have been identified.
Michael Kelly, age 48, had previously been charged with third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, and three counts of indecent liberties with a student.
Kelly’s charges include the following:
- One count statutory sex offense with a child
- Two counts solicitation to commit a felony
- Five counts of indecent liberties with a child
- Five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor
- Sixteen counts of indecent liberties with a student
According to the arrest warrant, Kelly allegedly possessed images of a 15-year-old victim. The images were graphic and included “engaging in sexual activity consisting of holding his erect penis in his hand.
In an FBI interview, one student reported that Kelly had touched him inappropriately and Kelly had shown the student his penis while in a school restroom.
The student also told the FBI that Kelly was part of a SnapChat group where he traded pictures of penises and other graphic pornographic images with students.
Kelly was original being held on a $100,000 bond, but that amount was increased to $1.5 million. Kelly is currently in the New Hanover County Detention Facility.
According to WECT, a complaint was filed by a parent about Kelly in 2003. The parent tells WECT that the district ignored her and that Kelly retaliated against her son.
Caroline Kuebler says her son and at least one other student told her stories about Kelly’s inappropriate behavior. The behavior ranged from telling off-color sex jokes in class to showing pornographic images to students. We verified these claims with the former students, who say Kelly never touched them but definitely crossed the line of appropriate behavior between teacher and student.
Kuebler says she went to Kelly directly to express her concerns in 2003, and when that didn’t help, she went to then-Laney principal, Dr. Rick Holliday.
Kuebler thinks she spoke to both men three separate times before realizing she was getting nowhere. Making matters worse, she says Kelly retaliated, and docked her son’s grade in his class. That’s when she escalated her concerns with a formal written complaint to New Hanover County Schools administrators at the central office.
The WECT report says that school officials in New Hanover ‘don’t recall’ the complaint and that there were “No complaints received in the Division of Human Resources prior to this recent incident.”
There is much more. Go read the whole WECT report.
What happened in New Hanover mirrors the inaction and obstruction by school officials which was noted in my four-part series “The Quiet Epidemic.“