A Burke County teacher had been arrested on two counts of second degree child exploitation charges.
Michael Harrison Lowman, 31, of Rector Street in Valdese, North Carolina was arrested by Burke County Sheriff’s Officers for the child exploitation charges and was also charged with Indecent Liberties with a Child.
Lowman is being held on a $250,000 secured bond. He taught fourth grade at George Hildebran Elementary School in Burke County. Lowman is no longer teaching in the Burke County Public School system. Media reports say he has surrendered his teaching license.
Superintendent of Burke County Public Schools ,Dr. Larry Putnam, issued the following statement:
“I am deeply saddened about the news of this arrest and these charges. Our primary goal is always the safety and well-being of our students. The George Hildebrand community is a strong community and they have our full support. Burke County Public Schools is working closely with local and state law enforcement agencies as this investigation continues. Anyone with information related to the investigation should contact the Burke County Sheriff’s Department. Burke County Public Schools conducts a thorough background investigation into potential employees during the pre-employment process. If criminal allegations arise during employment we work directly with law enforcement to ensure a thorough investigation. We encourage anyone with suspicions that if they see something, they should say something and report it to administration or those in authority.”
Lowman was hired as a teacher assistant at George Hildebrand from October 2009 through August 19, 2012. Michael Lowman became at full-time teacher at the same school starting on August 20, 2012. He held the position until September 15, 2017.
Lowman apparently also served as a bus driver between May 2015 to September 2017.
The Burke County Sheriff’s office released the following statement:
On Friday, September 15, 2017, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children contacted the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation Computer Crimes Unit regarding a social networking and dating application/website. There was information including images between what was believed to be a minor child and an adult. These images were of a graphic nature and depicted juveniles in a state of undress. The NCSBI made contact with the Burke County Sheriff’s Office and local Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce representatives within the Burke County Criminal Investigations Division. The subsequent investigation led law enforcement to a Michael Lowman of 2897 Rector St. in Valdese, NC.
Special Agents with the NCSBI and Burke County Sheriff’s Office conducted interviews with the residents of 2897 Rector Street including Michael Lowman. During the course of these interviews, probable cause was developed to seize Lowman’s cellular device. Evidence was obtained including a number of images that were defined under North Carolina General Statue 14-190.13 as Child Pornography.
The NCSBI conducted a polygraph examination with Lowman and a joint taskforce of local and state Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce members conducted an interview with Lowman. Lowman disclosed that he had downloaded and uploaded child pornography utilizing his cellular device. He also admitted that he had taken immoral, improper and/or indecent liberties with minor children for the express purpose of arousing and/or gratifying his sexual desire.
Lowman was arrested on two counts of 2nd Degree Exploitation of Minors and one count of Indecent Liberties with a Child. He was arraigned before a Burke County Magistrate, where he received a $250,000.00 Secured Bond.
The statement concludes, stating that, “Members of the Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce are still conducting an investigation and the potential of additional charges are pending.”
American Lens has been tracking teacher arrests in North Carolina since January 2017. The Burke County teacher makes the 41st such teacher involved arrest.
Read more articles on teacher arrests in NC.