Attorneys for the former Northwestern High School administrator accused of sex crimes with two students are seeking the school records of one of the alleged victims, and a prosecutor on Monday asked a judge to quash that motion.
Kenneth Williams, 31, has been indicted on 14 charges of sexual misconduct with students. The former Northwestern assistant principal is accused of coercing a female student to engage in a lengthy sexual relationship with him beginning when she was 15. Prosecutors say he also sent sexually explicit pictures and video of himself to that girl and another female student, who was 16 and a student at Northwestern at the time.
Prosecutors on Monday asked a circuit court judge to quash a defense subpoena issued to the Rock Hill school district requesting school records of one of the alleged victims. The request includes disciplinary and suspension records, referrals and grade reports for the girl.
Defense attorneys argue the records are pertinent because one of the victims alleged Williams threatened to change her grades or place discipline referrals on her record if she did not comply with his demands.
Deputy 16th Circuit Solicitor Erin Joyner said the subpoena is invalid because it requests that the records be delivered to the law office of one of Williams’ attorneys rather than General Sessions court.
“We’re not trying to obstruct access to those records,” Joyner said. “We are asking the court to order that before they are produced, there’s an in-camera review to make sure that only that evidence which is relevant in this case is turned over rather than giving him, through his attorneys, unfettered access to those documents without any kind of checks and balances.”
Defense attorney Twana Burris-Alcede said she was told by the school district that the parents of any students whose information they requested would have to be notified, and that only the parent of the victim could make a motion for the subpoena to be quashed.
“What the state is attempting to do here is ask the court to police what we’re entitled to on behalf of our client as our independent investigation,” Burris-Alcede said. “What they’re attempting to do is act as counsel for this individual.”
Burris-Alcede contended that not getting the records would inhibit the defense completing its own independent investigation, violating Williams’ constitutional rights. So far, the victim’s mother has not made an objection, she said.
Circuit Court Judge Roger Couch said the victim has a right to object and decided to take the attorneys’ arguments under advisement until he and the attorneys have reviewed a federal statute to make sure they’re in compliance.
“I have serious doubts as to whether the state has the right to step in those shoes,” Couch said. “If the parents come forward and file a motion to quash it in the meantime, that puts the issue squarely in front of the court.”