Crime & Courts

4th-grade teacher accused of indecent liberties had child porn on phone, sheriff says

A Burke County elementary school teacher is accused of taking indecent liberties with a child and having child porn on his cellphone.

Sheriff’s investigators arrested Michael Harrison Lowman, a fourth grade teacher at George Hildebrand Elementary School, on two counts of second-degree exploitation of minors and one count of indecent liberties with a child. He was jailed on $250,000 bail.

Michael Lowman
Michael Lowman Burke County Sheriff’s Office

Burke County Public Schools said it learned of Lowman’s arrest from the sheriff’s office at 8 a.m. Monday. Lowman, 31, resigned from Burke County Public Schools and surrendered his teaching license an hour later.

“I am deeply saddened about the news of this arrest and these charges,” Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Larry Putnam said in a statement. “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.”

The school system is working closely with local and state law enforcement agencies as the investigation continues, Putnam said . Anyone with information related to the investigation should contact the Burke County Sheriff’s Office, he said.

“Burke County Public Schools conducts a thorough background investigation into potential employees during the pre-employment process,” according to Putnam’s statement. “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 joined George Hildebrand as a day care worker in 2009, according to the school system. He was a teacher assistant at the school from 2009 to 2012 and a teacher from 2012 until Friday. He also was a bus driver from 2015 until Friday.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak