Former middle school teacher, others arrested in child sex operation

- A former middle school teacher along with several other men were arrested after they allegedly tried to meet a child for sex.

Blane Gregory, 51, of Spruce Pine, North Carolina, and seven other men have been charged with one count of soliciting a child for sex and appearing to meet the child, according to the Lincolnton Police Department.

According to Newton-Conover City Schools, Gregory began working as a teacher for Newton-Conover Middle School on January January 30, 2017. He resigned and surrendered his teaching license on Wednesday, March 29. The school said Gregory’s arrest does not involve any students in the Newton-Conover City School District.

In a written statement Newton-Conover City Schools said, "Because this is a personnel matter, the school district cannot provide any further comment about Mr. Gregory, his arrest or his resignation. However, Newton-Conover City Schools can sate that it conducts an extensive background screening, including contacting professional references and obtaining a criminal history, before any applicant is approved for employment."    

According to Alexander County Schools, Gregory was also employed at East Alexander Middle School from July 18, 2016 to January 26, 2017. The district said he resigned of his own accord and that it was not related to this arrest.

Officials said Gregory received the distinction, "Teacher for Exceptional Kids."

According to Lincolnton police, the offenders agreed to meet the child in Lincolnton in order to have an "unlawful sexual relationship."

The arrests were made after a three-month undercover operation, in which detectives portrayed a child on various social media outlets, police said.

All of the men have been charged with with one count of soliciting a child for unlawful sex act by a computer and appearing to meet the child.

See the above gallery for names and charges

The offenders were given secured bonds and taken to the Lincoln County Jail.

If anyone has any information about this case, please contact the Lincolnton Police Department at (704) 736-8900. 

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