Monday, August 15, 2022

Former New Hanover County teacher facing 27 new charges related to sex crimes against children

Former New Hanover County educator Michael Earl Kelly now faces over 50 charges related to indecent liberties with numerous child victims. The new charges date as far back as 2003 and as recently as 2017.

Michael Earl Kelly now faces a total of 55 charges, with alleged offenses as far back as 2003 and as recently as 2017. (Port City Daily file photo / BENJAMIN SCHACHTMAN)
Michael Earl Kelly now faces a total of 55 charges, with alleged offenses as far back as 2003 and as recently as 2017. (Port City Daily file photo / BENJAMIN SCHACHTMAN)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY—Charges continue to mount against Michael Early Kelly, former New Hanover County Schools’ teacher who stands accused of numerous sex-related crimes against children, including students.

Kelly appeared in court Monday to hear an additional 27 charges against him. Those are in addition to the 28 charges filed against him earlier this year. Prosecutors say those charges were connected to at least 10 victims found after pornographic material was seized from Kelly’s residence. On Monday, the district attorney’s office did not say if the new charges were connected to different victims.

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

New charges cite offense dates 10 years earlier than the previous charges — as far back as 2003, but also as recently as 2017.

Kelly was employed as a full-time teacher at Emsley A. Laney High School from 1993 through 2006. 

Kelly then worked as a science teacher at Isaac Bear Early College from 2006 until February 2018, when he was fired in connection with recent charges.

Kelly’s new charges include:

  • 15 counts of indecent liberties with a child
  • Eight counts of indecent liberties with a student
  • Two counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor
  • One count of solicitation to commit a felony
  • One count of attempted sex offense with a student

According to the district attorney’s spokeswoman, Samantha Dooies, the case against Kelly is in a waiting period while law enforcement conducts its investigation. More charges can be added to the current case against Kelly if new information or victims are found.

“Today was just the first appearance,” Samantha Dooies, Assistant to the District Attorney, said. “It’s got a long way to go.”

This article will be updated with more information as it becomes available.


Johanna Ferebee can be reached at johanna@localvoicemedia.com or @j__ferebee on Twitter

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