Monday, April 22, 2024

New Hanover County teacher arrested for indecent liberties with student, sexually exploiting a minor

Michael Earl Kelly is a 26-year veteran of the New Hanover County School system.

Michael Earl Kelly, a 26-year veteran of the New Hanover County School system, was arrested on February 6, 2018, on charges of indecent liberties with a child and sexual exploitation of a minor. (Port City Daily photo / COURTESY NEW HANOVER COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE)
Michael Earl Kelly, a 26-year veteran of the New Hanover County School system, was arrested on February 6, 2018, on charges of indecent liberties with a child and sexual exploitation of a minor. (Port City Daily photo / COURTESY NEW HANOVER COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE)

WILMINGTON — A New Hanover County Schools employee has been arrested on charges of indecent liberties after the Federal Bureau of Investigation linked him to child pornography involving a student.

The FBI contacted the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, who investigated Isaac Bear Early High School Teacher Michael Kelly. According to the Sheriff’s Office, an unnamed Isaac Bear student being interviewed by the FBI was in possession of child pornography; Kelly was in possession of the same material on his cell phone.

Citing the nature of Kelly’s alleged offense, deputies arrested Kelly without waiting for a warrant; the arrest was then approved by Gaston County District Magistrate David Kayler. According to the Sheriff’s Office, Kelly has been charged with three counts of indecent liberties with a student and one count of sexual exploitation of a minor.  He received a $100,000 secure bond.

New Hanover County Schools has been informed of the charges and arrest by Sheriff’s deputies.

According to Valita Quattlebaum, Kelly was hired on August 17, 1992. He has been suspended with pay; Quattlebaum said his status would be reconsidered pending the result of the investigation and trial.

Superintendent Dr. Tim Markley issued a brief statement: “While we can’t discuss the specifics of this case at this time, we take these allegations very seriously. Our primary concern is the safety and protection of the students. We will take all steps necessary to ensure this.”

Kelly will appear in District Court, room 100 today at 2 p.m.

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