School district announces internal investigation after sex crimes controversy

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Multiple investigations are in the works targetting the actions of the New Hanover County schools administration after the guilty plea by former teacher Michael Kelly. Kelly will face upwards to 30 years in jail for sex crimes committed at two schools according to law enforcement.

The New Hanover County Board of Education voted July 9 in open session to hire the law firm of Brooks, Pierce to conduct an independent investigation of the handling of the allegations surrounding former personnel of the district.

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The school district announced in a press release Wednesday evening that Jill Wilson, who is an experienced and well-respected education attorney from Greensboro, North Carolina, will lead the team. The group will also include attorney Shana Fulton who is a former federal prosecutor.

“Now that the criminal investigation of Mr. Kelly has been completed, the Board is prepared to examine its past practices and history, most of which pre-dates the current board members’ service,” wrote school staff in the release.

“The Board felt that there was value in getting an objective, thorough look at our practices and procedures and an understanding of what happened in the past so that we can assure appropriate practices and policies are in place in the future,” said board chair Lisa Estep. “We value and treasure our students and want the public to know that we take most seriously our commitment to act in their best interests.”