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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A well known high school band director is off the job tonight after landing in jail over the weekend. North Brunswick’s Mark Riel is on administrative leave after allegations surfaced against him.

Riel’s arrest was unexpected to most parents with kids at North Brunswick High. Many parents found out about the sexting allegations Monday morning.

“I was shocked, very shocked,” Linda Winters, who’s grandchild goes to NBHS, said.

Deputies arrested Riel and charged with one count of indecent liberties with a minor after allegedly sending what investigators called an inappropriate text message to a student.

“Upon that arrest and that notification we immediately began an investigation in which resulted in his suspension with pay,” Brunswick Co. Schools spokeswoman Jessica Swencki said.

The district won’t say much more. It would not say if the alleged sexting is an isolated incident or who reported riel in the first place.

We talked with a North Brunswick freshman monday who’s close to Riel. The boy was completely unaware of his band director’s arrest.

“He’s kind have been a father to me,” the boy said. “I really do love him. How do you think others in the band will take it? I think they’ll take it the same way. Shock? Yeah.”

The school district says Riel has been working as the band director at North Brunswick High since 2005. According to the band’s Facebook fan page Riel became a father in early December.

Though the district won’t say how serious the allegations against Riel may be, it is clear that any allegations against a teacher will be looked into quickly.

“It is important to us that we handle things very expeditiously,” Swencki said.

Riel is out of jail under $25,000 secured bond. We did not find a phone number for him, but we did reach out to riel online to see if he had any comment on the recent allegations. So far we have not heard back from him.


Comment on this Story

  • L. Mayers

    When I was 13 my Dad passed away & from that moment on I have stayed busy… then, in 1999, I became involved in everything I could @ school & now I work 2 jobs. Its the way I coep w/ things. He was one of very few teachers that was there for me. He was our choir director & he taught me to sing. At the end of that yr I tried out for our schools best group & the next yr I was part of it! He taught me to work hard w/ our groups practices after school… & showed us where hard work would get us… performances all over the county & a step above the rest as we entered high school chorus. He changed my life for the better, music (both singing & playing) became my life as a tween-teen! I listened to music to deal w/ whatever… being sick, being angry, anything… it always made me feel better. And HE was the one that turned that “like” of music into a “love” of music. He is an awesome teacher, the best music teacher I ever had & I hate that he has done this because now so many kids are going to miss out on knowing what its like to have him as a teacher…. just 1 lapse in judgement has changed his whole life

  • Guesttoo

    The accusation against this man is that he sent inappropriate text message(s) to a student. The charge was; “Indecent liberties with a minor”.

    Your post is the only one that I’ve seen that suggested that he was a “molester” or even “alleged molester”. I’ll submit that even a “Lelandite” would know that there is a difference. You should too.

    Can’t defend this teacher and won’t even try. Don’t see any value in crucifying him without knowing facts either. If the charges stand, they are (as presented), for sending a text message (or messages) that he shouldn’t have and were sexual in context. No matter how much you try though, I don’t think you can molest anyone via a text message.

  • Guest

    The fact he has a stong personality doesnt make him evil–lets see what really was involved between him and student –and then decide?

  • Guest

    Agree-lets get real and wait for more info–none of us are saints so lets not throw rocks until we know reality from fiction

  • Guest

    I was one of Mr. Riels TAs for my senior year at NBHS… i was with him for 2 periods everyday… i spent time with him. I saw the way he acted and cared for his students… NEVER once did i see anything abnormal or “creepy” going on… When i use to come home to visit family i would take time out to go visit him at the school… I hope that people understand that this happens all the time… it happened not too long ago at Ashley High. Im behind ya Riel… I hope the truth comes out… i was completely shocked to hear of the situation even thousands of miles away…

  • Guest

    Whatever happened to presume innocent-whatever happaned to good reporters who wait for facts and pass on innuendo—not in this area-how sad a place for us all.

  • Guest

    Agree–lets be objective until he has day in court

  • Guest

    too often recently we have had the nuts coming out of woodwork-condemning people based on allegations not proven facts-enough===this isnt journalism.

  • Guest

    we tend to judge people based on emotion not facts–give this guy a break

  • Guest

    I am not here to judge and say whether is he guilty or innocent. All I can say, however, is I have known Mark Riel since 2000 and I am a former student of his from Pender County. He is a wonderful teacher, the best I have ever had by far. Taught me so much more than music — he taught me about fair play, how to work as a team, and what is really important out of life. When I first met him, I had problems that I needed to work through. Mark Riel helped me become a better person through tough love and discipline. I support Mark always, not because I know blindly that he didn’t do this, because I do not know that. I support him because of what he has done for me, my classmates, and every other student that he has taught since 1999. He does have a very polarizing personality, and either you love him or hate him. I have nothing but love for this man and his family.

  • Guest618

    Mr. Hollard, are you for real???? No way could someone be so ignorant in this day and time as you have appeared to be. “Backwoods Lelandites”!! “Candid Camera, Where Are Though’t Cameras??”

  • Don Griffin

    It is obvious, given your poor grammar and rush to convict this teacher before knowing the facts, that you possess an ignorance that far surpasses that of most mortal beings. As for your comment on the Leland population I am thoroughly amazed that anyone could pigeon hole an entire community so expertly as you have done Mrs. Holland, a proud moment for you to be sure. Adolph would have been very proud of you indeed.

  • Guest

    Teachers know what kinds of things don’t need to be said. If he was joking around, he shouldn’t have done it. You don’t say inapropriate jokes to children… no matter who the student is. I’m a teacher, and i don’t say inappropriate things to my little cousin at school. Shoot… I don’t even give him a full frontal hug at school.

    If he was sending inappropriate text messages to a student, he should be fired.
    If he was having a relationship with a student, he should be in jail.
    I kinda doubt that an iPhone app was used. If everyone loves this band teacher as much as they say they do, they wouldn’t have slandered his name like they did.

  • E

    You need to go back to OHIO. Or wherever you came from. No one knows the truth yet.

  • Guest

    I have come across a lot of bigoted idiots in my day, but you might just be the King of bigoted idiots. I am sure that I speak not only for myself, but for most people who live in Leland when I say we are elated that you live on the other side of the bridge. And by the way, we are handling it in an adult manner. You on the other hand….Seriously, did you even read your post before you sent it?

  • Guest

    he is innocent!! i have been his teacher assistant and i know him very well, and there is no way he did this, and if it was something said it was def. a joke or kidding. evry body knows he is a joker. he is a father figure to many and all his students and past students will all agree, and thats a lot of kids cause band is a large group!

  • cdtp

    First of all in this country everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of Law.It is a shame people like you have already convicted him and you do not know what happened you only know what has been reported. Thats whats wrong with this country until it happens to you or one of your family members you will never know the hurt or pain that it effects on a family.SHAME ON YOU AND EVERYONE ELSE WHO HAVE YOUR SMART REMARKS TO SAY. ONLY THE BAD THINGS ARE BLOWN OUT OF PROPORTION PEOPLE DO NOT LIKE TO SPREAD GOOD NEWS ONLY THE BAD….He is a father with small children and people like you are hurting them. I do not know if you are a parent or not. If not if you become a parent you will never know what that feels like for someone to hurt your children until it happens to you or one of your family members. If you are one of those who think it cannot happen to you or one of your family members your living in a dream world because in this world to day any one can be falsely accused. To your comment about Leland there are wonderful people here who care about one another and there is something called SLANDER be very careful what you say…..The Media can be very hurtful in things they report they do not care what happens in the long run only what they can dig up on people to report. They need to start reporting more good things stop supporting the medias negativity.you are not the judge GOD is the judge and there will be a judge in court.HE COULD BE INNOCENT….you could be falsely accusing him of something he did not do. If he did do it it will be up to the court system to take care of this matter. Your comment is a good example of the negativity in this big bad world we live in. A concerned parent……

  • Evelyn

    Hey Joseph Holland…how about proofreading your comment before posting. “…unless it comes out that he say an inappropriate relationship…” WOW! Nice grammer! And us Leland residents are backwoods & uneducated? Ok, I’ll remember that as I sit over here on my side of the bridge with my four year college degree. And yes, I graduated from North Brunswick! So you can keep your snooty, uneducated, without merit comments on your Wilmington side of the bridge. We will appreciate it very much! Thank you!

  • Guest

    If you ARE going to bash Leland, and call us ‘backwoods’, please make sure you proofread what you wrote, least you look ‘backwoods’ as well.

  • I am not here to judge this teacher, but merely to make a comment regarding texting. Is anyone familiar with an iphone app that will allow one to “override” one’s phone number and insert another’s phone number to send text messages and make calls?? My son is in high school and we were recently contacted by a parent who claimed that my son had sent inappropriate text messages to their daughter. My son swore that he did not send them~Wanting to believe him and not discount the girls parents, we contacted our cellular provider to secure a copy of all calls and text messages sent from his phone–the text was not there, although it clearly showed on the girls phone…the really inappropriate text with a photo I did not need to see, along with his phone number and name. After three weeks of searching and talking to other kids at school, I was able to determine that another kid had actually sent the message from his jailbroken iphone through some crazy APP that allows you to insert a name or cell phone number and make it appear the call or text is coming from that person. AT&T verified that this APP exists and that they have been subpoenaed in several pending cases in Brunswick County Court for threats via text messages. The Principal was obviously not nearly as upset as I was about this, in fact he did not seem to think it was serious at all, just kids playing around. Am I the only one that has my panties in a wad over this, or has this happened to anyone else????? I am NOT in any way saying that this is the case here with this teacher, so please don’t assume that. Just wondering if anyone else has had any experience in this regard?
    Another question…. another teacher did this very same thing at South Brunswick… then married the student..he was not arrested, wonder why?? The Sheriff’s Dept was clearly able to show that a texting dialogue had been going on for months, at late hours, inappropriate sexual content, and he was not arrested. Just wondering!

  • Guest

    I agree with this. This is not just one isolated incident. Let’s just get the facts, not ‘hear-say’ all out first before we start pointing fingers.

  • Guest

    Wow, talk about ‘backwoods crap’? I am a proud, what did you refer to us as- ah yes, ‘Lelandite’, well educated and quite capable of debating with people like you making ignorant comments about Leland. Just because I am from Leland does NOT mean I am condoning anyone’s ‘alleged’ behavior in this unfortunate situation-the teachers or students. That is just your ‘right side of the tracks vs. wrong side of the tracks’ ignorant opinion being voiced out of your dark soul. Maybe you live on the ‘right’ side of the bridge where the guy was stabbed to death outside of the club? Oh, wait, I assume it is more important to focus on this situation in Leland than on the many killings and high crime across the bridge? ‘No biggie, it was just another murder, happens all the time here across the bridge!’ How about you keep your murders, rapes, and high crime stats on your side of the bridge (and your ignorant assumptions), and we ‘Lelandites’ will keep our commerce in Brunswick County.

  • wendy

    No this is the case of people knowing the man being charged. Innocent till proven Guilty!!! This isnt about living in Leland or on your street where Im sure their are skeletons in closets. If he did it he deserves to fry…If he didnt then hes screwed too cause of small minded people like yourself!!!!!!!

  • wendy


  • Guest

    This is happening all over the country. Go to http://www.schoolteachernews.com and click on the Scandal page. They also have a map of where the incidents have taken place. Already this year they have found over a 25 of these incidents. In 2010 they found over 400 of these kinds of cases.

  • Guest618

    I’ve know Mark for several years and think alot of him and support him in everyway. I hope that the truth will come out soon and his life as well as the “life” of NBHS can go back to normal.


    Is this another one of those situations where you guys defending this alleged molester says “the girl knows exactly what she was doing?” If so, you backwoods lelandites need to stay on the other side of the bridge and keep that crap in Leland. Im really not suprised to see everyone jumping on the teachers bandwagon though. If he did it, he need to lose his job. I won’t say jail unless it comes out that he say an inappropriate relationship with this underage girl. All of you need to grow up and look at this in an adult manner.

  • Danny Alvis

    Only in Brunswick County. If you buy voii stock you can make bail.
    I am the Dan Man from Alvis and I have spoken.
    The Dan Man

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