More Plaintiffs Added to Former Teacher’s Sex Abuse Case

More Plaintiffs Added to Former Teacher's Sex Abuse Case

Three other alleged victims of Michael Kelly are joining a case against school officials and staff.

Former New Hanover County Schools teacher Michael Kelly was previously convicted of sex crimes against students and is behind bars. Investigators found that Kelly exchanged over 250 explicit text messages and at least 1,000 text messages with students at Isaac Bear Early College High School with just one victim. Now three more alleged victims have been added to a pending lawsuit against staff and school officials accusing everyone of turning a blind eye.

Connie Jordan, assistant district attorney for New Hanover County, said at the time of Kelly’s hearing, “He pleaded guilty immediately. He pleaded guilty to everything he is charged for. The judge apparently had the conviction, and the judge sentenced him to just over 17.5 to 31.5 years in prison. “

The court granted the motion to amend the complaint, adding the three and increasing the number of plaintiffs to 13. An anonymous plaintiff reported that Kelly “gave him alcohol and even drugged him before he was raped”.

Photo by Max Fischer from Pexels

The investigation found that Kelly had a private Snapchat group where he asked some of his students to join and share pictures of their private parts, despite the fact that doing so is against school policy to even communicate with students via text messages or social media.

A victim who is now an adult previously said in court: “I can talk for hours about the impact Mr. Kelly has had on my education, but the one thing I want to make sure the court is fully aware of is this pedestal upon which his character stands is a primary reason that this is kept silent. It has protected him countless times and I think it shouldn’t be anymore. It influenced me for many years. With the support of my wife, I could decide, yes, I wanted to get involved. There were anxiety attacks early on, even problems with self-harm. “

Martin Ramey, one of the attorneys representing the additional plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said of the amended filing, “We have learned some facts and details about investigations conducted or allegedly conducted by the school board.”

The school board itself claims that two separate investigations were conducted in 2006 and 2010, and yet Kelly remained employed in the district until 2018. This issue is included in the amended filing. The lawsuit also states that Title IX Compliance Officer and Deputy Superintendent Dr. Rick Holliday “was not qualified to serve as the district Title IX compliance officer and there were only four Title IX investigations during his tenure.”

“Interestingly, between 1999 and 2018, there were at least 13 New Hanover County School employees who either resigned or were fired for sexual assault involving New Hanover County School students. There were at least seven other people reported to NHCBOE on allegations of sexual misconduct during the same period, ”the amended complaint read.


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