Jimmy Love Sr., the attorney for the Lee County Board of Education, told the board Tuesday night that he was unable to find any violation of school board policy by member Patrick Kelly, who was at the center of controversy back in March when photos of him engaged in legal, consensual sexual activity were brought to the board’s attention.
“I pursued all the allegations I could hear or possibly find. I’ve talked to students, I’ve talked to parents, and my conclusion after all of that is that there was no violation of ethics policy 2120, or any other policy of the Board of Education,” Love said. “It would be my recommendation that no action be taken because I have been unable to substantiate the allegations that have been made regarding board policy 2120.”
Love said he’d even attempted to contact Southern Pines radio host John Zumwalt, who was one of the first people to bring the photos to the board’s attention, and who made the official complaint which led to the investigation.
“I wrote him a letter … and asked for his help in view of the allegations he’d made, and I haven’t heard anything from him,” Love said.
Board Member Sherry Womack, who herself was cleared of ethical wrongdoing in February after questions were raised about her participation in a Washington, D.C. rally for Donald Trump just prior to the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, asked multiple questions of Love, including whether he had any role in a similar investigation into Kelly by Central Carolina Community College (by whom Kelly is employed) and whether his investigation looked into any policies other than 2120 (which is the board’s code of ethics).
Love, who is also the attorney for CCCC’s Board of Trustees, said the college’s investigation was a personnel matter with which he had no involvement, and that he considered “all the policies I felt would be relevant to this issue,” including one which Womack asked about regarding the use of social media by school board members.
Kelly made no comment on the investigation at Tuesday’s meeting. Watch the full meeting video here.