Ooltewah athletic staff begin to fight charges against them

This 2010 file photo depicts Jason Nayadley at a time when he was Ooltewah boys' basketball coach. He is now athletic director of Ooltewah High School.

Attorneys representing both Ooltewah High School's Athletic Director and the assistant basketball coach say their clients should not be charged with failing to report abuse during the basketball team's trip to Gatlinburg, Tenn., just before Christmas.

Both the assistant coach Karl Williams and Athletic Director Allard "Jesse" Nayadley are scheduled to appear in Hamilton County Juvenile Court tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. Ooltewah's head coach Andre Montgomery is also scheduled to appear.

William's attorney, Johnny Houston, said his client plans to plead "not guilty" tomorrow; and Nayadley's attorney, Lee Davis, said he plans to file a motion in court tomorrow morning to have the charges against Nayadley thrown out.

Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston filed charges against the three last week for failing to report child abuse or suspected child sexual abuse in connection with this case.

photo Ooltewah coach Andre Montgomery is seen at a 2014 game against Cleveland.

According to court documents, four freshman players were assaulted with pool cues and "subjected to apparent sexual assault," during the team's trip to Gatlinburg, Tenn.

During tomorrow's hearing proof will not be presented, and the three men will simply plead "guilty" or "not guilty" to the class A misdemeanor, Sam Mairs, an official with Hamilton County Juvenile Court, previously told the Times Free Press.

If they plead guilty they could be issued a fine of up to $2,500. If they plead not guilty the case will be sent to the Grand Jury.

Records from Sevier County Juvenile Court state that two 16-year-olds and a 17-year-old are charged with aggravated rape and aggravated assault of a 15-year-old player who was taken to a hospital in Knoxville where doctors performed surgery to repair a ruptured bladder and colon.

Documents say authorities in Sevier County were notified of the assault by hospital staff and not by administrators from Ooltewah High School, the coaching staff or anyone from the Hamilton County Department of Education.

According to Melydia Clewell, spokeswoman for the Hamilton County District Attorney's office, the three adults are charged because they had firsthand knowledge that the basketball players were abused and were each in Sevier COunty when the assaults happened.

Houston, said the charges against Williams have no merit and "the public will find that Mr. Williams completely complied with the law requiring the reporting of what happened in Sevier County."

Houston said Williams is a good person with a clean record who has been a volunteer coach for three years, and there has far too much speculation that he somehow failed to report or hide what happened.

"He is embarrassed and understandably concerned about these charges despite his innocence," according to Houston.

Davis said he and Nayadley will be in court tomorrow, and that he will file a 10 page motion asking the Judge Rob Philyaw to dismiss charges, prior to the hearing.

"Mr. Nayadley is the athletic director, but more importantly he is the father of a 15 year old son who is on the basketball team," Davis said in a written statement. "Mr. Nayadley was in Gatlinburg to see his son's team play and he had no knowledge of any misconduct."

Davis said when Nayadley learned of the incident he immediately notified his principal, who in turn notified the Superintendent's office. He added that Nayadley has been fully cooperating with the investigation.

"On behalf of Mr. Nayadley, we have no idea why he is being summoned to juvenile court in Chattanooga," Davis said. "He was not present when the events happened, he is not a witness to these events, and he has no information any different from the principal he reported to, other parents with players on the team or others who later learned of these tragic events."

The attorney representing Ooltewah High School's head coach Andre Montgomery, Curtis Bowe III, did not return request for comment Wednesday afternoon.

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