North Carolina Teacher Arrested for Child Sex Crimes After Bragging About it To Online Date

Anthony Marqui Neal
Anthony Marqui Neal Facebook

A North Carolina elementary school teacher was arrested and charged with child sex crimes after he "revealed disturbing information about children" to a potential date online, authorities said.

The person on the dating site was so alarmed they notified the Cleveland County sheriff's deputies according to a sheriff's office news release.

Cleveland County Sheriff's Office Chief Dep. Durwin Briscoe said he was thankful the woman alerted them to the situation. "I can't say how much it means," he said. "Often times, people are reluctant to call law enforcement."

Deputies interviewed 36-year-old Anthony Marqui Neal after learning he taught at a local elementary school, investigators said. Neal teaches physical education at Washington Elementary School on Stoney Point Road in Shelby, according to the school website.

Investigators Found Electronic Devices with Images, Videos of Children Engaging in Sexual Acts

After interviewing Neal, authorities obtained a warrant to search his home and seized several electronic devices, officials said. The devices displayed images and a video of children involved in sex acts, the sheriff's office said. None of the children attend schools in the Cleveland County school system, investigators said.

School administrators suspended Neal on the same day of his arrest. Deputies charged Neal with first-, second- and third-degree sex exploitation of a minor.

He is being held in the Cleveland County Detention Center under a $150,000 bond. Neal started employment on Aug. 8, 2023, at Washington Elementary and resigned effective Feb. 9, according to information from the Cleveland County Schools.

Neal as Described as a 'Sweet, Kind Man' by Students

One student told a local news outlet that he was considered a good teacher by students.

"A sweet, kind man," Katlyn Good said.

She was stunned when the superintendent sent a phone message to parents on Wednesday explaining the PE teacher was arrested.

"I was disappointed in him because I never knew him to do that," Good said.