Four more victims join lawsuit against Michael Kelly, NHCS system

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Michael Kelly (Photo: WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Four more plaintiffs have joined the civil suit filed against Michael Kelly, the New Hanover County Board of Education, and other school system leaders.

The amended lawsuit was filed Thursday by attorneys representing the victims of Michael Kelly.

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Kelly pleaded guilty on June 25 to nearly 60 charges related to sexual assaults and crimes against his students. He was sentenced to up to 31 years in prison.

A month later, attorneys filed the civil suit against Kelly and school leaders.

The suit claims since 1993, complaints were levied against Kelly. It goes into detail of his indecent liberties with students on and off campus.



The victims allege that the school system failed to disclose and concealed Kelly’s sexual abuse of students. Former Superintendent Tim Markley and former Deputy Superintendent Rick Holliday are named in the lawsuit.

Victims say they warned administrators, like Dr. Holliday, verbally and in written complaints. Kelly revealed during his sentencing that in 2006, his first year at Isaac Bear, he had been cleared from an investigation that stemmed from an indecent exposure complaint.

With this amended complaint, the number of victims involved in the lawsuit now stand at 10. To protect their identities, they are all listed as the pseudonym John Doe, followed by a number.

Two of the latest victims attended Laney High School in the early to mid-2000s. The other two attended Isaac Bear Early College High School, where Kelly was teaching when he was arrested.

John Doe 7 alleges Kelly inappropriately discussed sex, showed him pornographic images and exposed himself. The victim also remembered a time where Kelly took him the YMCA and told him to remove his “board shorts” in order to sit in the sauna with him.

John Doe 8 also said Kelly talked about sex, exposed himself, and  showed him pornographic images. He also recalled a time Kelly followed him and another student in the restroom to watch him at the urinal. Kelly is also accused of grabbing the student while he was exposed.

John Doe 9 also claims Kelly spoke with him inappropriately, exposed himself and showed him pornographic images. The student said it happened more than 100 times while he was at Laney.

John Doe 10 also said Kelly discussed sex, exposed himself and showed him pornographic images.

The suit also seeks class action status because it could encompass a number of students who interacted with Michael Kelly from 1993 to 2018.

The lawsuit said class action treatment will allow for the establishment of a common fund for the Plaintiffs and the Class will allow Class members who are too fearful, reluctant or who hesitate to participate as named plaintiffs, to receive compensation from a common fund.