Charges dismissed against Jenkins Independent

By: Katie Roach Email
By: Katie Roach Email

Charges have been dismissed against a school district in eastern Kentucky.

The Jenkins Independent School District, their superintendent and football coach were all charged with failing to report an alleged hazing incident last fall, now those charges have been dropped.

One month ago motions were filed to dismiss those charges.

"Based upon the most recent supreme court case, it was anticipated and the district judge really didn't have a choice," said Pike County Attorney and prosecutor in this case Howard Keith Hall.

He says he does not agree with the ruling.

"We're hoping that the supreme court case will take another look at this law due to the fact that the facts of this case are totally different," said Hall.

In Judge Prator's ruling, it says that Jenkins Independent School District is an entity and not a person, and according to the law you have to be a person to commit the alleged crimes.

When it comes to the two individuals, superintendent Watts and football coach Larry Maggard, Judge Prator's ruling says the recent Kentucky Supreme Court decision involving this statute limits the reporting requirement to abuse from a parent, guardian or other person exercising custodial control and does not apply to a child abusing another child.

The Jenkins Independent School District's attorney Jonathan Hall released this statement:

"I believe that the Court's analysis was correct and dismissal of this matter was proper and consistent with well established Kentucky law. To hold otherwise would create an untenable burden upon local boards of education, taxpayers, social services, and local police wherein each time there is an allegation that a child has inappropriately touched, hit, or otherwise injured another student that social services and local police would mandatorily - without exception - be contacted without the teacher or administrator having the opportunity to investigate complaints as to the conduct of their students, to form conclusions (based on facts not always known) as to what actually happened, and ultimately to determine an appropriate course of action, which may, at times, involve reporting the conduct of a child to the appropriate authorities."

Hall says he will decide in the next few days if he will appeal the decision to the Letcher County Circuit Court.

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