DA declines Williams charges
By Patrick Yost
The Ocmulgee Judicial District Attorney has declined to press any criminal charges against Morgan County Middle School Assistant Principal Kemberly Williams.
According to a letter from District Attorney Fred Bright to Morgan County Sheriff Robert Markley, Bright said charges against Williams for allegedly downloading copyright-protected movies and offering them to other system personnel through use of school equipment would “be best handled administratively by the local school system for whatever action they feel appropriate.”
In his letter, Bright said the allegations were initially forwarded to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia “and they have declined prosecution on the federal level…”
The investigation was then turned over to Greene County Sheriff’s Office authorities to prevent a conflict of interest. “We have received and reviewed the report from the Greene County Sheriff’s Office investigators who handled this investigation regarding the Morgan County Middle School [Assistant Principal], and have discussed all of the findings with them,” Bright stated in his letter to Markley.
Allegations of Williams’ film piracy first emerged in January. At that time, police reports stated, a faculty member at the school alleged that Williams had been “selling DVDs of movies that have apparently been copied from a website downloaded by Ms. Williams…”
After the initial police report was filed on the matter, Morgan County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Ralph Bennett said he would await direction from law enforcement regarding the veracity of the allegations.
Bright does not state in his letter to Markley whether any criminal activity occurred. He does state that: “It is our understanding that Ms. Williams has tendered her resignation to the Morgan County Board of Education and will not be returning to the school. Accordingly, this letter will served as the conclusion to our involvement in this case, and we do not anticipate any further action from my office on this matter. Let us suggest that the Morgan County Board of Education (council) its employees so that this problem regarding bootleg videos does not reoccur; we even volunteer our services to do the counseling ourselves if that is what the school system desires.”
Williams resigned from her position in March and her letter of resignation was unanimously accepted by the Morgan County Board of Education. According to her letter she was an assistant principal for seven years.
At the time of the resignation, Bennett said the investigation into the alleged film piracy and the resignation was “between her and the District Attorney.”
“Our understanding is that no charges were filed against her and the investigation is complete,” Bennett said.
Williams’ resignation came on the heels of former Morgan County Middle School Principal Joe Hutcheson’s resignation in January, after Williams alleged that Hutcheson did not follow proper procedure in requisitioning funds. Williams filed a complaint against Hutcheson on Nov. 9, 2011 with the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.
Printed in the April 12 2012 edition.