New Hanover teacher arrested for assault on a female

A New Hanover Public Schools teacher has been arrested and charged with assaulting a female.



Terry Wayne Hughes, age 64, was arrested in the early hours of Dec. 2 on a charge of assault on a female. It is unclear how much the bond issued to Hughes was, but he has apparently posted bail been released from custody.

Hughes is currently a career engineering and technology (CTE)teacher at Noble Middle School. Records on file with the state show Hughes has an active teaching license in North Carolina that will not expire until 2025 unless otherwise surrendered or revoked.

In accordance with state statute with regard to suspensions, New Hanover County Public Schools has suspended Hughes with pay effective Dec. 3. He was hired by the district in August 2018.

Hughes is the second Noble Middle School employee arrested in 2021. In September, teaching assistant Sequana Brown was arrested for simple assault and misdemeanor child abuse involving a 12-year-old student.

Including Hughes, this website has tracked 23 public education employee arrests and 14 non-public or non-teaching staff arrests in 2021.

Earlier this year, in April, two New Hanover educators were arrested within weeks of each other. One was Ronnie Strickland, a retired volleyball coach who was arrested on two counts of sexual activity by a custodian for alleged offenses dating back to the 80s. The second was David Bostian, accused of two counts of a sexual offense by a government employee. Bostian committed suicide hours after being released on bond.

In recent years, a number of New Hanover County Public Schools teachers have been arrested, many for sexual-related offenses.

Peter Michael Frank, age 47, was arrested in January of 2020 and charged with six counts of indecent liberties with a child and six counts of indecent liberties with a student. He was a band teacher are Roland-Grise Middle School.

In 2018, Nicholas Lavon Oates, age 38, was originally charged with one count of indecent liberties with a child and one count of statutory rape of a child under the age of 15. Oates was a Special Education assistant at Myrtle Grove Middle School at the time of his arrest.

The charges increased with the addition of 22 more, including four additional counts of indecent liberties with a child, six counts of statutory sex offense with a child under the age of 15, four counts of second-degree kidnapping, four counts of taking indecent liberties with a student, and four counts of sexual activity with a student.

Oates was never be sentenced having died of liver failure in custody awaiting trial in November 2019. Oates was apparently the brother of the New Brunswick schools superintendent, Dr. Jerry Oates. According to reports by Port City Daily, Oates had a significant criminal record yet the district hired him anyway.

The most prolific case is that of Michael Kelly, whose victims spanned decades and who was convicted in 2019 on 61 felony counts. The criminal case is long over, but the civil case against Kelly and New Hanover Public Schools continues. He taught at multiple schools in the district and over a dozen victims have come forward.

Michael Kelly: A brief timeline of a serial abuser

February 2o18:
Kelly is arrested and is initially charged with one count of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and three counts of indecent liberties with a student. His arrest was the result of a joint operation by the FBI and the New Hanover County Sheriff Department.

March 2018:
More victims are discovered and more than a dozen new charges are added.  At that time, the full list of charges against Kelly included:

  • 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

April 2018: Seven more victims are identified and the number of felony charges rose to 59.

  • 1 Count Indecent Liberties/Student (Bond: $1,000,000.00)
  • 1 Count Statutory Sex Offense w/ Child Under 15 years old
  • 3 Counts Solicitation to commit (Bond: $500,000.00)
  • 1 Count Attempted Sexual Offense w/ Student
  • 1 Count Sexual Exploitation of  Minor (First Degree)
  • 8 Counts Sexual Exploitation of  Minor (Second Degree)
  • 1 Count Sexual Exploitation of  Minor (Third Degree)
  • 23 Counts Indecent Liberties w/ Student  (Bond: $500,000.00)
  • 20 Counts Indecent Liberties w/ child (Bond: $100,000.00)

Michael Kelly - New Hanover

Michael Kelly

June of 2019: 
Kelly pleads guilty to the majority of the 61 felony charges that were pending against him. Kelly surrendered his teaching license to the state in July 2019. Judge John Nobles sentences Kelly to 16 to 24 years in prison on the most serious charges of child exploitation and statutory sex offense.

Kelly’s additional 57 charges are consolidated for judgment, with Nobles adding a sentence of 20-84 months (up to 7 years) to be served following completion of the first sentence.

Kelly will serve a maximum of 24 years and three months and a maximum of an additional 7 years following the completion of the first sentence.

July of 2019:
Holliday resigned less than a week after the New Hanover Sheriff indicated an investigation had been opened into claims that the district was warned about a teacher sexually abusing students yet failed to act.

Holliday has been named in the investigation by at least two sets of parents who had complained about Kelly and other teacher behavior, according to Port City Daily. The parents allege Holliday did not act and did not report the complaints to the district.

April of 2020:
Four other victims are added to the civil lawsuit. The complaint document at that time included 10 John Does and graphic details.

May of 2021:
More victims of Michael Kelly are added to the lawsuit against the New Hanover County School district. The total number of victims rises to 13.

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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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