Burke Co teacher facing exploitation of a minor charges


BURKE COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A Burke County man, who was a fourth grade teacher, is accused of having child pornography.

According to the Burke County Sheriff's Office, 31-year-old Michael Harrison Lowman, of Valdese, was charged Monday with two counts of second-degree exploitation of a minor and one count of indecent liberties with a child.

Lowman was a teacher at George Hildebrand Elementary School, according to school officials. Lowman was listed on the school's website Monday morning.

Deputies say child pornography was seized from Lowman's phone. The sheriff's office said that Lowman admitted to having the pictures and "had downloaded and uploaded child pornography utilizing his cellular device."

Lowman also admitted to taking "immoral, improper and/or indecent liberties with minor children," according to deputies.

According to a spokesperson with Burke County Public Schools, Lowman resigned from the school district and surrendered his teaching license Monday morning. His last day as a teacher at the school was Friday, school officials say.

Dr. Larry Putnam, who is the superintendent of Burke County Public Schools, released this statement Monday:

"I am deeply saddened about the news of this arrest and these charges. Our primary goal is always the safety and wellbeing of our students. The George Hildebrand community is a strong community and they have our full support.

School officials say Lowman started working at George Hildebrand Elementary School as a daycare worker in September 2002 and worked as a daycare worker until 2009.

Lowman was then a teacher assistant at the school from 2009 to 2012 and worked as a teacher until he resigned, according to school officials. Lowman had also worked as a bus driver from 2015 to 2017, school officials say.

He originally received a $250,000 secured bond, but that was reduced to $125,000 on Tuesday. He was also ordered to hand over his passport, to have no contact with anyone under 16, and to have no Internet use.

Additional charges are possible, deputies say.

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