More victims of a former New Hanover County teacher were identified last year, which translated into more legal charges. Those charges are now known.
According to the New Hanover County Sheriff’s website, 49-year-old Michael Earl Kelly currently faces felony 59 charges.
Those charges span nearly 20 victims with an age range of 11-17 years old.
The apparent new charges include indecent liberties with a child and second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. These new charges are linked to alleged incidents in 2009.
It is unclear if these charges are already included in the list on the New Hanover Sheriff’s website or not. If they are new, the charge count rises to 61.
According to a report by WECT, some of the charges go back well over a decade to 2003 and correlated with a complaint about Kelly filed by a parent who had a child attending Laney High School at the time.
“The mother of one of Kelly’s former students told WECT that she went directly to Kelly with her concerns about his behavior with students in 2003, before going to then-Laney principal Dr. Rick Holliday.
After feeling she was not getting anywhere, Caroline Kuebler said she filed a formal written complaint with New Hanover County Schools’ central office in January 2004.” (Via WECT)
Ms. Kuebler has indicated that the district, in fact, also ignored her complaint. Kelly also retaliated against Kuebler’s child.
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. (Source: WECT)
Michael Kelly, age 48, was first charged in early 2018 with third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, and three counts of indecent liberties with a student. At his first hearing, Kelly was assigned a $100,000 bond.
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.”
Just a few months after his original arrest, more victims were identified and 34 more charges added. But by April, the charge count grew to 59 when 7 more victims of Kelly’s were identified.
A $1.5 million was placed on Michael Kelly in April but records show that it has since been increased to $2.1 million. Kelly is still incarcerated at the New Hanover County Detention Facility.
Kelly’s charge list as of January 15, 2019, courtesy of the New Hanover County Sheriff’s office:
|1 COUNT SEXUAL EXPLOITATION MINOR FIRST DEG||INCLUDED IN OTHER CHARGES $0.00|
|1 COUNT SEXUAL EXPLOITATION MINOR THIRD DEG||INCLUDED IN OTHER CHARGES $0.00|
|1 COUNT SEXUAL OFFENSE STUDENT(F) – ATTEMPT||INCLUDED IN OTHER CHARGES $0.00|
|1 COUNT STAT SEX OFF WITH CHILD <=15||INCLUDED IN OTHER CHARGES $0.00|
|3 COUNTS SOLICITATION TO COMMIT (F)||SECURED BOND $500,000.00|
|8 COUNTS SEXUAL EXPLOITATION MINOR SECOND DEG||INCLUDED IN OTHER CHARGES $0.00|
|20 COUNTS INDECENT LIBERTIES W/ CHILD||SECURED BOND $100,000.00|
|24 COUNTS INDECENT LIBERTIES STUDENT (F)||SECURED BOND $1,500,000.00|