Judge sends Ooltewah school officials' charges to grand jury

Judge sends Ooltewah school officials' charges to grand jury

February 15th, 2016 by Kendi A. Rainwater in Local Regional News

Staff Photo by Dan Henry / The Chattanooga Times Free Press- 1/21/16. Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Rob Philyaw denies motions to dismiss charges against Ooltewah High School faculty in failing to report student abuse in December. Defendants chose to schedule a preliminary hearing for February 15, 2016.

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

This story is developing.

After nearly four hours of testimony, Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Rob Philyaw decided today that enough probable cause existed for charges against Ooltewah High School's boys' basketball coaches and athletic director to be bound over to the grand jury.

Philyaw said he could have ruled either way and support such a decision through legitimate arguments made by counsel on both sides. The problem is, he said, the statues are well-intentioned but ambiguous. 

"This isn't the first time I've had a problem with a DCS [Department of Children's Services] policy, and it probably won't be the last," Philyaw said. 

But, he added, anyone with Google or [Apple's] Siri can ask how to report child abuse in Tennessee and the hotline number immediately appears. 

"It's not a difficult process," he said. 

Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston charged Ooltewah High School basketball head coach Andre "Tank" Montgomery, assistant coach Karl Williams and the school's Athletic Director Allard "Jesse" Nayadley with failing to report child abuse or suspected child abuse in connection with the alleged rape of an Ooltewah High School freshman by three of his older teammates.

After nearly an hour of deliberation, Philyaw said the charges against the three men will now be bound over to the Hamilton County Grand Jury, because today's hearing proved there is probable cause that they failed to report the abuse to the Department of Children's Services, as required by law. 

Each of the men will need to be booked, Philyaw said. 

The alleged assault took place during the basketball team's trip to Gatlinburg, Tenn., days before Christmas. 


Stay with the Times Free Press for more on this developing story.


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