New Hanover County Board of Education hires Brooks Pierce Law Firm to handle an independent investigation

Updated: Jul. 16, 2019 at 9:55 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The New Hanover County Board of Education decided at a meeting Tuesday night to hire the Brooks Pierce Law Firm to handle an independent investigation of the Michael Kelly case.

The board voted 6-1 to hire Brooks Pierce out of Greensboro and attorney Jill Warren will head the investigation into allegations that NHC administrators knew of claims that Kelly sexually abused students but failed to report them to law enforcement.

Kelly, a former science teacher at Isaac Bear Early College High School, pleaded guilty in June to 59 charges, including sexual exploitation of a minor, indecent liberties with a student and indecent liberties with a child.

New Hanover Board of Education member Judy Justice said the investigation has a broad scope but one purpose.

“I think the whole point is to get to the truth,” said Justice, “and find out what happened in the past so that we can use our policies and procedures to make sure it doesn’t happen in the future. And to see if there was any reason in the past that might still continue with personnel to be able to correct that. That is what our decision was about, our investigation.”

According to the Brooks Pierce website, Warren has represented numerous public school boards of education on a wide range of issues.

Along with the school board’s investigation, the State Bureau of Investigation will look into similar allegations at the request of District Attorney Ben David and New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon.

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