Sunday, July 3, 2022

Teacher charged with possessing child porn said he ‘made some bad choices’ (VIDEO)

New Hanover County School teacher Michael Earl Kelly, who is charged with possession of child pornography and indecent liberties with a minor, received a $1 million bond

Update: 5:00 p.m. – New Hanover County School Superintendent Tim Markley has initiated proceedings to fire Isaac Bear teacher Michael Earl Kelly, facing child pornography charges.

WILMINGTON — In district court today the prosecution asked for a $2 million bond for New Hanover County School teacher Michael Earl Kelly, who is charged with possession of child pornography and indecent liberties with a student at the school where Kelly taught. The prosecution said more severe charges would be forthcoming.

Judge Jeffrey E. Noecker considers the prosecution's request for a $2 million bond on New Hanover County School teacher Michael Earl Kelly. (Port City Daily photo | BENJAMIN SCHACHTMAN)
Judge Jeffrey E. Noecker considers the prosecution’s request for a $2 million bond on New Hanover County School teacher Michael Earl Kelly. (Port City Daily photo / BENJAMIN SCHACHTMAN)

Related story: New Hanover County Schools to fire teacher facing child pornography charges

Kelly made his first appearance via television from a New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office detention facility. During his brief televised appearance before District Judge Jeffrey E. Noecker, Kelly said that he had “done a lot of good work in the school system” as a teacher at the Isaac Bear school. He added that he had also “made some bad choices.”

Assistant District Attorney Connie Jordan asked the court to increase Michael Earl Kelly's bond to $2 million, saying increased charges were forthcoming. (Port City Daily photo | BENJAMIN SCHACHTMAN)
Assistant District Attorney Connie Jordan asked the court to increase Michael Earl Kelly’s bond to $2 million, saying increased charges were forthcoming. (Port City Daily photo / BENJAMIN SCHACHTMAN)

Kelly is charged with three counts of indecent liberties with a minor and one count of sexual exploitation of a minor — a charge which Assistant District Attorney Connie Jordan said is expected to be increased to a first-degree offense.

Jordan added that an unspecified number of child porn images were being reviewed by law enforcement.

The third-degree charge refers to possession of child pornography, while the first-degree offense is even more severe, and includes someone who:

  • Uses, employs, induces, coerces, encourages, or facilitates a minor to engage
    in or assist others to engage in sexual activity for a live performance or for
    the purpose of producing material that contains a visual representation
    depicting this activity
  • Permits a minor under his custody or control to engage in sexual activity for
    a live performance or for the purpose of producing material that contains a
    visual representation depicting this activity
  • Transports or finances the transportation of a minor through or across this
    State with the intent that the minor engage in sexual activity for a live
    performance or for the purpose of producing material that contains a visual
    representation depicting this activity
  • Records, photographs, films, develops, or duplicates for sale or pecuniary
    gain material that contains a visual representation depicting a minor engaged
    in sexual activity.

Related story: New Hanover County teacher arrested for indecent liberties, sexually exploiting a minor

Kelly said he believed his wife was making arrangements for legal representation. Judge Noecker increased Kelly’s bond to $1 million with the added stipulations that, should he be able to pay the bond, Kelly not have any contact with any minor, including through school-related activities. Jordan further requested that Kelly not have any communication – including cell phone – with any minor.

Kelly’s next appearance is for Thursday, Feb. 22, in District Courtroom 302.


Send comments and tips to Benjamin Schachtman at ben@localvoicemedia.com, @pcdben on Twitter, and (910) 538-2001.

Related Articles