Two adults charged in connection with the rape of an Ooltewah High School freshman entered not guilty pleas this morning in Hamilton County Criminal Court.
Ooltewah High School head basketball coach Andre "Tank" Montgomery appeared in Judge Don Poole's courtroom on four charges of failing to report child sexual abuse. His attorney, Curtis Bowe, entered the not guilty plea on his behalf.
Just next door in Judge Tom Greenholtz courtroom, an attorney representing Gatlinburg Police Detective Rodney Burns also entered a not guilty plea for the two charges of aggravated perjury Burns is facing. These charges result from Burns previous testimony in Montgomery's preliminary hearing in this case.
Both men will appear again in Hamilton County Criminal Court in late August, and at that time the Hamilton County District Attorney's Office said they will move for the cases to go to trial.
Montgomery is charged for not reporting abuse to the proper authorities during an Ooltewah High School basketball team trip to Gatlinburg, Tenn., just days before Christmas. Failure to report child sexual abuse is a class A misdemeanor and carries a sentence of up to 11 months, 29 days behind bars.
Ooltewah High School Athletic Director Allard "Jesse" Nayadley and the school's assistant basketball coach Karl Williams were also originally charged in this case.
Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston dropped the charges facing Williams. In the order of dismissal filed last month, Pinkston states the charges were dismissed against Williams because he "was not provided any training regarding the mandatory reporting law."
Nayadley's case is also taking a different route than Montgomery's, as he accepted a pre-trial diversion last month. This means he agreed to skip a grand jury review and the charges will be erased from his record in 180 days if he completes 10 hours of community service, attends a course on reporting abuse and is well behaved.
Burns is facing the most serious charges in connection with this case, as aggravated perjury is a class D felony that carries a sentence between two and four years behind bars, because of his testimony in the case.
Burns, 55, turned himself in to the Hamilton County Jail last month after being indicted by the Hamilton County Grand Jury. He was released on a $2,500 bond.
A motion was filed Monday in Hamilton County Criminal Court saying Burns was waiving his rights to appear today for the arraignment and that he would be represented by one of his attorneys.
Pinkston asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to look into whether Burns committed perjury on the stand after his February testimony in the preliminary hearing for Montgomery, Williams and Nayadley.
Josh Devine, spokesman for the TBI, previously said the investigation discovered Burns was "untruthful."
According to the grand jury indictment, Burns "unlawfully and with intent to deceive" made two false statements under oath during this testimony.