Sunday, August 14, 2022

11 victims over five years, no comment from schools as teacher faces Grand Jury

Michael Earl Kelly, a soon-to-be-former teacher at the Isaac Bear school. New Hanover County Schools have initiated the proceedings to fire Kelly. (Port City Daily photo | BENJAMIN SCHACHTMAN)
Michael Earl Kelly, a soon-to-be-former teacher at the Isaac Bear school. New Hanover County Schools have initiated the proceedings to fire Kelly. (Port City Daily photo | BENJAMIN SCHACHTMAN)

WILMINGTON — Michael Early Kelly, the 26-year veteran New Hanover County School teacher who most recently worked at Isaac Bear High School, is facing dozens of new charges involving numerous additional victims. Those charges include allegations that Kelly had sexual relationships with young students.

According to New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Jerry Brewer, Kelly is facing 28 charges as the result of the testimony of 10 additional victims and a considerable amount of pornographic material seized from Kelly’s residence.

Related story: Teacher charged with possessing kiddie porn said he ‘made some bad choices’ (VIDEO)

Those new charges include:

  • First-degree exploitation of a minor (production and/or facilitation of child pornography)
  • At least five counts of second-degree sexual exploitation (possession of child pornography)
  • At least 14 counts of indecent liberties with a minor, all of whom appeared to be students
  • At least one statutory rape charge

According to warrants issued by Magistrate David Kayler, the offenses date back to at least 2013 and continued until recently.

New Hanover County Schools is currently in the process of dismissing Kelly. Spokeswoman Valita Quattlebaum previously stated that the school had no prior knowledge of Kelly’s behavior and had received no substantiated complaints. Asked if that was still the case, in light of ten new victims, Quattlebaum declined to comment.

”Due to the open and ongoing investigation around Mr. Kelly, the district is unable to discuss this case,” Quattlebaum said.

Kelly is still currently being held on a $1 million bond. He appeared via television for his first appearance on these new charges on Tuesday, Feb. 27. During the brief appearance, Kelly said little besides confirming to Judge Jeffery Noecker that he understood the new charges against him. Kelly’s lawyer, Wilmington attorney Miriam Thompson, told Kelly she would be making arrangements to see him in the detention center soon.

Thompson spoke briefly with Assistant District Attorney Connie Jordan and then left the courthouse. According to Jordan, the District Attorney’s office expects Kelly to be indicted by a Grand Jury before his next court date on June 7.


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

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