Schools Sexual Abuse

Schools Sexual Abuse Attorneys in Wilmington, NC

Over one-third of registered sex offenders in New Hanover County live within a one-mile radius of an elementary school. We know this because of publicly available information on the NC Bureau of Investigation’s Sex Offender Registry and information we have gathered during private investigations.

At Rhine Law Firm, P.C., we represent current and former students who survived sexual assault and exploitation at the hands of teachers Michael Kelly and Peter Frank. Along with The Lea/Schultz Law Firm, P.C., we filed a civil suit against the New Hanover County Board of Education for allowing Kelly to work in the district for over 20 years, despite numerous complaints to administrators about sexual abuse.

Kelly pleaded guilty to 59 felonies involving sex crimes against 9th and 10th grade high school students at Laney High School and Isaac Bear Early College High School in Wilmington. Similarly, Frank is currently in the New Hanover County Jail awaiting trial on 29 sex crimes he allegedly committed over a 20-year period against middle schoolers at Roland Grise Middle School.

After uncovering these crimes and helping survivors move forward, we wanted to investigate further. As our very own Joel Rhine explains:

These facts made us question just how safe were our schools. So, we decided to look at the larger issue of where sexual predators are with respect to our schools, and particularly to the most vulnerable of our students, those in elementary schools. And, the results were both astonishing and frightening.”

Sexual Predator Charges Within a 1 Mile Radius of Elementary Schools (as of April 2020)

Sexual Predator Charges Within a 1 Mile Radius of Elementary Schools (as of April 2020)

At Rhine Law Firm, P.C., our top-rated and veteran trial attorneys have decades of experience representing victims of sexual abuse and fighting aggressively on their behalf to recover the compensation they deserve.

The North Carolina “Lookback” Window

Victims of child abuse have suffered traumatic experiences that can be very difficult to relive. When those victims discover that they do not have the right to seek justice, the emotions can be further buried and leave a lifelong scar. Thankfully, North Carolina Senate Bill 199 has implemented a significant reform in civil justice for victims of child abuse. The bill was passed into law at the start of 2020 and makes the following changes:

  • The statute of limitations has been entirely waived for child abuse victims to press charges, if they do so between January 1st, 2020 and December 31st, 2021. This two-year “lookback” window allows victims who suffered in years past to bring their abusers to court and recover compensation for parts of their lives they will never get back.
  • The age limit for filing child abuse lawsuits has been raised from 21 to 28, allowing victims more time to understand what happened to them and build strength before pursuing legal action.

Your newfound legal ability might bring many questions and unpleasant emotions to the surface. For guidance during this difficult time, turn to our compassionate lawyers in Wilmington, NC.

How Can Rhine Law Firm, P.C., Help?

Our accomplished and veteran trial attorneys at Rhine Law Firm, P.C. have decades of experience providing compassionate, caring, and skilled legal services for those who have suffered at the hands of predators. We fight for you to make sure wrongdoers are punished to the fullest extent of the law and you recover the maximum amount of damages.

At present, our legal team is involved in a class-action suit against the New Hanover County School District on behalf of several defendants who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of former teacher and convicted sex offender Michael Earl Kelly.

If you or your child have suffered child sexual abuse in the school system, call us today at (910) 501-2474. We are on your side. Our consultations are private, free, and can be scheduled online.

Our Promise to You

  • National Practice with a Local Presence
  • Hundreds of Millions of Dollars Won
  • Over 30 Years of Experience
  • Experienced, Thorough & Dedicated Attorneys
  • Spanish-Speaking Services Available
  • Evening & Weekend Appointments Available Upon Request


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