New Hanover Special Ed Assistant Charged with Statutory Rape of Minor, Indecent Liberties

A former Special Education teaching assistant in the New Hanover Public Schools system has been charged with two sex crimes involving a child under the age of 15.


Nicholas Lavon Oates, age 38, has been charged with one count of indecent liberties with a child and one count of statutory rape of a child under the age of 15.

According to the arrest warrant, the alleged victim is only 14 years old and the alleged offenses took place between June 22 and July 7 of 2018.

Oates is currently being held under a $1 million dollar bond at the New Hanover County Detention Center. Oates is due in court again on July 26th.

According to New Hanover County Schools spokeswoman Valita Quattlebaum, Oates was hired at the Myrtle Grove Middle School on January 19, 2016. He resigned just over a year later on February 1, 2017.

New Hanover County Schools verified that Oates was suspended without pay in 2016 beginning on December 2nd running through 13th. Oates was later suspended again on the same day as he tendered his resignation.

New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office indicated that as of December 1, 2016, Oates was being investigated with regard to text messages between him and a minor. The investigation was brought to the attention of the New Hanover County Public school system.  A school resource officer allegedly initiated an investigation at Myrtle Grove Middle but found that no crime had taken place.

According to school officials, a background check was performed on Oates at the time of his hiring. Charges of DUI, failure to maintain lane, civil revocation of his license, failure to signal and a Hit and Run/Failure to stop were revealed to have been filed against him.  All of these charges had taken place and had been dismissed before he was employed with New Hanover County Schools.

After leaving his position with New Hanover County Public Schools, Oates worked for Communities in Schools of Cape Fear (CISCF).  He served as part of the CISCF staff for less than two months.

According to a CISCF spokesperson, Oates was a part-time after-school coordinator at the youth center, WIRE, from late October 2017 through the middle of December that same year.

According to reports, Oates had a significant criminal record yet the district hired him anyway. Oates is apparently the brother of the New Brunswick schools superintendent, Dr. Jerry Oates.

Port City Daily reported that “Oates has several arrests, including marijuana possession in Duplin County and a DUI charge (later reduced to a ‘failure to maintain lane’ charge and ultimately dismissed) in Brunswick County. But he also faced charges for three separate allegations of violent and sexual assaults on women.”

One of the assaults in 2008 was particularly violent according to a domestic violence protection order filed in New Hanover County District Court, on May 20, 2008.

Port City Daily reported that “Oates held his 22-year-old ex-girlfriend at gunpoint, questioned her about her sexual activity, threatened her, assaulted her sexually, and then prevented her from leaving by placing her in a chokehold and kicking her. Oates also allegedly threatened to “blow his brains out” if the victim ended their relationship.”

Oates is the second New Hanover Public Schools teacher arrested since the start of the year.

Michael Kelly - New Hanover

Michael Kelly Mugshot via NHCSD

In February, it was first reported that New Hanover teacher, Michael Kelly, had been charged with third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, and three counts of indecent liberties with a student.

In March, more charges were added to Kelly that included:

  • One count statutory sex offense with a child (Class B1 Felony)
  • Two counts solicitation to commit a felony (Class depends on the related felony)
  • Five counts of indecent liberties with a child (Class I Felony)
  • Five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor (Class H Felony)
  • Sixteen counts of indecent liberties with a student (Class I Felony)

According to the State Board of Education’s teacher revoked licensing list, there are 17 teachers with disciplinary actions against them so far in 2018.

Of the 19 teacher arrests reported and tracked by this website in 2018, only one appears on the revocation list – Devin Danielle Wright formerly of Duplin County Schools.

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a reporter currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_ Tips:
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2 Responses to New Hanover Special Ed Assistant Charged with Statutory Rape of Minor, Indecent Liberties

  1. Pingback: WHO IS TEACHING YOUR CHILD? – ConMom

  2. Caroline says:

    Great article! Thank you so much for following and reporting on these crimes and abuses. The public should be outraged and insisting on the resignations of all involved or who knew.


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