FIRST ON 3: Pender Co. teacher apologizes for inappropriate texts to student, reaches plea deal

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Submitted: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 3:47am
Updated: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 1:18pm

BURGAW, NC (WWAY) — A Pender County teacher accused of cyberstalking an eighth grade student pleaded guilty today.

As WWAY was the only Wilmington TV station to report last month, Megan Mantooth, a math teacher at Burgaw Middle School, was suspended and charged with cyberstalking after reportedly sending hundreds of inappropriate text messages to a 13-year-old boy. Today, she said she was sorry.

Mantooth, 26, wrote a statement admitting that what she did was wrong and asking for forgiveness. Though she admitted her guilt, Mantooth signed a plea deal allowing her trial to be put off for three years.

“I’m glad,” the victim’s mother Elizabeth Graham said. “It sounds like she’s finally taking the initiative for what she did.”

Pender County Schools suspended Mantooth with pay last month after Graham, the mother of one of mantooth’s students, filed a report saying the teacher sent more than 200 inappropriate text messages to her son

“She definitely acted inappropriately, and I hope that she truly understands that this was her doing,” Graham said.

“I am deeply, terribly sorry for the pain and anguish I have caused,” Mantooth wrote. “I myself am in complete and total shock that this situation went as far as it did. I knew better than to do what I was doing. There are no excuses for my actions, and I sincerely regret them. I apologize to everyone involved in the situation. I promise that I will never do anything like this again. I am deeply ashamed of what has happened – I knew lines had been crossed and said things that should never have been said. I implore you for your forgiveness.”

Mantooth’s plea deal requires her to attend regular counseling sessions during the three years before her trial date. She is also not allowed to work with kids or teach during that time. Graham says her son is still dealing with what happened.

“One minute he seems OK. The next he’s a little upset,” Graham said. “He’s trying to handle it the best way that a 13-year-old can.”

The Grahams say they want parents to pay close attention to the relationship their children have with teachers.

“Most people don’t really view their teachers as a threat, and I think if we hadn’t responded the way that we did and found it as soon as we did, who knows where it could have went?” the boy’s father Lynwood Graham said.

Mantooth will also have three years of probation according to her plea deal.

We tried to talk with Mantooth, but her attorney said Mantooth did not want to talk.

Despite what other media outlets are reporting, Mantooth’s attorney told us she never used post-partum depression as a defense for what she did.


  • Rachel says:

    Wow, the audacity for you to talk about the schools in Pender County in one sentence; may I add one very long run on sentence. Then in the next “paragraph” talk about glass houses and throwing stones. You may want to reread what you post and practice what you preach! Especially with you talking about society judging what exactly do you think you were doing when you were writing the things you did about Pender County and the people who live here? Let me inform you, JUDGING!!!

  • calvin lewis says:

    and i suppose the 13 year old is totally without quilt, i doult it !

  • pender resident says:

    Pender County is not the only place this has or could happen. Your child could very well have a teacher doing the exact sasme thing. So just watch how you post comments about certain counties

  • Guesttoday says:

    This situation is so sad. This woman is an educated professional who overstepped her legal and moral boundries. I was one of those hold outs who asked for all the facts to come out before judging her in the social media. Should I eat crow for that??? No, I didn’t know if she was innocent or guilty I just wanted the facts to come out and now they have. I hope Ms. Mantooth gets the help she needs and she and her family can move on with their lives. I believe her teaching career is finished.

    I also hope Ms. Grahams’s son doesn’t pay a price for this. I’m not talking about the texting, I’m talking about his family’s name published in the local and international news. Everyone who knows his mother can figure it out. I remember being thirteen and it didn’t take much to embarrass me.

  • 6u35t says:

    I am LOST FOR WORDS! I grew up with Megan (K-12) and never thought in a million years this would happen. I heard the “gossip” around Pender County, but had no idea the teacher was Megan Mantooth. I fell sorry for ALL parties involved and I hope everyone gets all the help they need.

  • IntelligentOne says:

    Even after she admits her guilt, you still want to blame the 13 year old? Whether he was involved in the conversation or not, does not excuse a grown woman with a husband and children trying to seduce and possibly have a sexual relationship with a child who’s penis is probably not even fully developed. Disgusting! You my friend must be a local sex offender.

  • Guest Terri says:

    I am just so thankful that I don’t have children attempting to get an education in Pender County – not just because of the incident with Mrs. Mantooth, but because the depth of utter ignorance in the area is blatantly clear in the comments made here!

    IF there is access to a computer to use to post a comment, there is surely close to a 99% chance that said machine has software that will CHECK your grammar and spelling for you. As for the venom in your hearts, not sure what the cure for that is, but I am reminded of a saying about those who live in glass houses and the throwing of stones….

    May God comfort and heal these families, and help the society that dares to judge any of them!

  • Guest 910 says:

    i bet if this situation was reversed and mantooth was a man and the 13 year old was a girl things would have went way different!!!

  • Guest410 says:

    It say that her Trial will be in three years.

  • Guest5678 says:

    That would up to the school system then though, wouldn’t it? How many schools would hire her? Do you really think that is a possibility? She has to disclose her criminal history on her application and would have to submit a criminal background.

  • Guest228 says:

    the plea was for only three years or maybe you cant read..”during that time she cant be around kids or teach”..but after the three years, its another whole ballgame..

  • Guest1234567890 says:

    yes, I and others have a big problems with this. It seems there is a large amount of favoritism for criminal offenders in Pender Co. only if the accused knows the right people. In this case being her husband with the pender co. sherrif dept. Another sad day in Pender to show the disgrace to our nation.

  • Guest228 says:

    and get off with a slap on the wrist..Does anyone not have a problem with this plea deal?? I even have a problem with her teaching still..a petition by the parents of Pender County need to be started to have her removed and not serve in a public setting with, this wont be the last time we hear of this..

  • sailboat2323 says:

    Read the article, she cannot teach.

  • Guest Brasky says:

    Deferred prosecution is available to many people with no criminal history. Also, can’t you read. She’s not allowed to teach or be around kids.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    go re-read the article. She has a 3 year time frame in which she must take counseling; avoid contact with children (other than her own I guess); not teach; and follow any other edicts issued by the court.

    At the end of the 3 years, she has a trial. If she has performed as required, her sentance most likely will be time served or some additional probation. If she follows the court’s edicts, there is no way in this society she will do hard time.

    AS to teaching in the future? Do you honestly think any school system would hire her with that on her record? Maybe in West Virginia and New York; but not in any part of the normal world.

    Go sit in the corner and take some valium.

  • Guest270 says:

    I have to admit that I did support her and hoped for the best. As I’ve stated before I’ve known both her and her husband for a long time. I’m dissapointed that she did it and hope that she finds the help that she appears to need. I hope that now this is resolved for the time being that her family can fade back into obscurity.

    As for the comment about marrying law enforcement and getting off with a slap on the wrist. Just remember that her career is ruined, she is on probabation and she still has to go to trial. That’s a pretty rough punishment in economic times like these, with so few jobs available. Just a little food for thought.

  • Guestleo says:

    I can’t help but think if the sexes of the teacher and student were reversed how it might have handled by the courts, a male teacher and a female 13 yr old student. My guess is no bond while awaiting trial, at least a year in prison, 3 yrs probation.

  • okay says:

    Weird an employee from wway would come on here and start posting. But your post actually confirmed everything the previous poster said. WWAY investigated the case and sought Graham out, she did not seek WWAY out. If I were in her Grahams shoes and the media sought me out on this matter I would feel the need to state my case on air also to and clear the air for my part. Since you had your hands on the story I certainly would not any speculation and refuse my right to speak on the matter. Which it actually turned into alot of speculation anyhow since WWAY is the only outlet that did not report everything they knew about the person charged. I would hope anyone else in Grahams position would also give the interview so people would know the seriousness of it all. Also so the rest of the world knows what a disgraceful perverted person the teacher is and what she intented to do. So again, thx for confirming that YOU sought Graham out and were already planning on going on air with the story.

  • Truth Speaks says:

    I apologize if you misunderstand what I was saying. You still sought her out…you made the first move when you contacted her. And I know that’s your job. And I never said you reported any untruths. I was saying you contacted her, not the other way around. And when things get in the media, and you know it’s true, all **** can break loose…in some instances. And I think you all did a great job in your story yesterday. No disrespect meant, but so you’ll know – I have most ideas that I do know a lot more about this case than you all at the news station, because I am a memeber of the victims family. I know my family, regardless of what anyone else says, and their only intentions were to do the right thing. And I think that they did exactly that. They meant no harm towards anyone…they were trying to stop the harm from ever happening again. So it is my prayer that Mrs. Mantooth will get the help she most certainly needs and that everyone can move on.

  • nsidetheloop says:

    Mr Pickey your account of how things went is somewhat different then what I Have been informed of. I belive you told the mother that mrs mantooth had given your TV show [new broadcast] an interview and that she had called her son a liar, and that everything they were accusing her of was because her son was a trouble maker. If you take a little bit of time to think about it what type of mother would want to bring her minor son into the spotlight like that. Unless she felt her sons charicter was being question. So given the inablity of the local news to keep up with the cable guys I can see where your reporter or producer might lie just a little to get the story. I mean after all we hear about ethics problems in the meidia all the time.

  • Scott Pickey says:

    Truth Speaks – while you claim to know the facts, please allow me to add a couple of things to your first couple of sentences.

    First, this story started when we got a tip that a teacher in Pender County had been suspended and that the sheriff’s department was involved in an investigation. We then called school board members and the sheriff’s department and tracked down all of the info we reported. Everything we reported is public record and factual.

    We then called the mother of the student, who agreed to go on camera that afternoon and do an interview with us. So, no, the victim’s family didn’t want to keep this quiet.

    So, yeah, “the media” got a hold of it and reported it – all of it factual – all of it confirmed.

    Thanks for checking out our website this afternoon and leaving your comment.


    Scott Pickey
    WWAY News Director

  • Guest228 says:

    Hey Scott,

    What happen with that was also transferred to Pender County per the Star News..whats taking so long in the investigation??

  • Wade griffis says:

    I totally agree with the above poster. Many of us, at the age of thirteen are sexually mature. I did not say emotionally mature.

    I never had a teacher that looked that good. Wish I had. I would have been smart enough to keep my mouth shut.

  • CaringMother says:

    I sincerely appreciate everyword you siad in the above comment. I knew all the time what the truth was because this is my family. I knew they would not lie and they prayed about what to do before they did it. I encouraged them to not let it drop… male or female children do not need this mess in their life. There is enough stress and temptation for our young people today and the last thing we think about is that our children are not safe at school with their teachers. I am glad she has made this public apology and everyone that said the things about my daughter-in-law can now “eat their words”. I haven’t heard a one say “I’m sorry” for the things I accosed you off… ‘getting my face in the paper’, looking for attention, bringing up her past’ … and not a word of apology. I was so in hopes you would each have the decency to say “I’m Sorry”. God says we are to ask forgiveness to those we hurt, and believe me, you have all hurt Mrs. Graham deeply.

    Thanks Tommyknocker for your true words. They are all well said and there is nothing more to add. You covered it all …

  • tommyknocker says:

    I seriously truly 100% hope you mean what you say. I imagine you do not have children since no one would want you as a parent of theirs considering your comments. If you do I am wishing you have the same happen to your child and when the shoe is on the other foot you whine and cry about how your child is the victim of a potential adult having sex with him or her. And we will all laugh it off as nothing and say your making a big deal of nothing and your child should have bragging rights to be the first in his or her class to have some sloppy nookie with a full grown adult! You sound like a pedo yourself! God forbid you might have any kids in your home. Also to all you local who defended her and posted all that BS about her to defend her. Just goes to show you never ever know so always go with what is the most logical instead of making a fool of yourselves. No, unlike others I am not praying for her or her help at all, why should I? Praying instead for the victim and the blessing of that not happening before maybe more children were assaulted past the first one by a PEDOPHILE! I am disgraced that she was not punished accordingly, and how this is another step in the direction of making pedophiles and child crimes acceptable. Disgusting and awful for this to happen and be excused with -0- punishment in any place in the world.

  • Brett says:

    Had it not been for set of concerned parents this teacher would be sitting in jail as we speak. I fully believe that she thought that she would be meeting this boy at the families boathouse. She should thank those people for preventing that for the remaining days of her life. There is evidence of of premeditation on her part even before the dialog began just by asking for the boys cell phone number in the manner she did. It appears also from the fact and evidence that she may have got herself too wrapped up in the lives of her students which altered her perception of who should have been in control of this to the point of thinking herself as nothing more than another middle school student texting her boy friend. This is an example of cultivation, she knew what she was doing no doubt.
    I do think that the judge took and interesting approach by affording her the opportunity to prove she does not have a tendency toward this kind of behavior. I truly hope that she is sincere in her apology. At any rate yes her life and her families lives are in turmoil and the young boy may be dealing with issues of his own which would have been worse had things progressed.
    As for her future as a teacher, it’s likely over. I was a teacher for 13 yrs and can tell you that this type of behavior erodes the lives of all concerned and frankly schools districts could not afford the backlash of hiring her no matter how she is rehabilitated. I can remember as far back as the mid eighties being warned and trained about the dangers of having an overly familiar relationship with students.

  • Das Weibstück says:

    What the heck are you rambling about? Paranoid are ya?

    “What happened? What did she do?” Try reading the article AGAIN. Geeeez

  • OtherGuest says:

    What happened? What did she do?

    The news is becoming the non-news. Every story you read is really nothing but vague generalizations and insinuation of bad behavior.

    Too much opportunity for people who should be providing information to hide it for one reason or another.

    The government protecting our rights, is that what this is?

  • Guest Apu says:

    I guess all those people who said there was no way she could do something like this were wrong. You just never know what someone is capable of.

  • Guest1 says:

    Women inappropriate with boy = deferred prosecution
    Man inappropriate with girl= indecent lib. with a child
    I also love how the boy is made out to be a “victim” LMAO….I wish my teacher would have hit on me when I was 13. Doesn’t anyone remember what most 13yr old boys are like?? Sure the teacher needs some serious help but I think they exaggerated the effect it had on the boy, At least now he’s got bragging rights..LOL I’m sure he will be traumatized for life..What a crock.

  • guesty says:

    Hmmm, since she took a plea deal I’m guessing all her supporters should get ready for their crow buffet. Better to eat it now while it is still warm.

  • Guest461 says:

    …tastes like crap. Oh, it IS crap, crow crap, crows feet, crows beak…all of it! I believed in this gal and thought the whole thing was a setup. I thought I was a better judge of character.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    Nobody bats 1.000!

    I’m absolutely amazed and totally baffled by this one.

  • Das Weibstück says:

    Dang! She needs mental help for sure. Her husband must be mortified, how embarrassing. I don’t think its right that her trial be put off for 3 years, that is just odd. Why?

  • Guest Bill D says:

    She probably got a deferred prosecution deal. That is where a 1st time offender can be under supervised probation for a period of time. If she successfully completes probation, the charges are dropped. If she violates her probation during that time, the case goes back to the judge for sentencing.

  • Sandy says:

    It is sickening that all she gets is 3 yrs probation, and she gets to teach again!?! What is wrong with this picture, she should never be able to teach anyone’s children ever again, what a disgrace!

  • Guest Brasky says:

    The court can ban her from teaching while she’s under their supervision, but they can’t do anything after that. But, do you really thing the state Board of Education is going to let her keep her teaching certificate?

  • anne says:

    This story truly shows how people need to wait for all the facts before they start judging. Okay – she has admitted it and I think she needs to seek some type of mental help. For the ones defending her all this time, you have learned you are wrong and I can guess you probably won’t have much to say now. For those who were blaming her, I guess you can say “I told you so” but what good would that do? What if the story had turned out differently? What if it had been a set up? A reputation would have been ruined and other lives destroyed. I feel for her family – they will bear the brunt of this for a long time.

    It is up to the court system to make sure that she obeys all the rules they have set up. She needs to stay away from kids other than her own for now and she needs to seek some medical help. Her family may need counseling and they should get it.

    As for the mother of the boy, get the boy some help – he will need it. You did what you had to do to protect him – but did you do it the right way? You probably thought all the publicity would help get it out into the open, but you put your son out there for all to see. Was it worth you getting your name in the papers? Could you have handled it differently? Probably so but we will never know now.

    I don’t know any of you but I sure hope that all you can get past this, get the help needed, and move on. The best thing that could happen is that you decide to not respond to anything else said and let time heal.

  • Truth Speaks says:

    I know the facts and the media seeked the victim’s mother out. The victim’s family also wanted to keep this quiet, but you know what happens when the media gets hold of things. And if she would had denied comments then everyone would have thought…yeah this is a setup, blah, blah, blah. Because if she wouldn’t have spoken when sought out…usually that would have meant she was hiding something. (That’s my own personal opinion of people when they do such). They had nothing to hide and I am proud of them for standing up for their son and other children they may have gotten in the path of this uncalled for quest. And I do pray that everyone gets the help they need and can move on, also. I also would like to say that this teacher was very fortunate to have gotten off so light and I pray that she truly is sincere in her efforts to get help and follow through.

  • guesty says:

    But like all the thugs and other criminals that people love to defend with ‘what a good person they are’ and all the other garbage, this too has come out as what was suspected. She was in the beginning stages of being a pedophile but got caught.

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