No charges to be filed against Richland Two school administrator accused of sexual misconduct

Parent of Richland 2 student addresses the incident at the R2 board meeting on Tuesday.

COLUMBIA – Sheriff Leon Lott announced on Friday, Nov. 19, that no charges will be filed against a Richland Two school administrator who was accused of sexual misconduct during a live-streamed school board meeting last week.

“After an intense investigation which included interviewing multiple witnesses and the individuals involved, as well as reviewing surveillance video from school cameras, investigators determined that the incident did not occur as described by the child and that the administrator did not do anything improper,” a Richland County Sheriff’s Department reported in a press release.

The Richland County Sheriff’s Department began investigating on Monday, Nov. 15, after the parent of a Richland Two elementary student raised concerns about an incident involving an administrator.

On Tuesday night, that parent spoke about the allegations during the public participation portion of the school board meeting.

“As parents, we want to believe that our kids are always truthful with us, but sometimes it turns out that’s not the case,” Sheriff Lott said. “However, we have a duty to make sure that any allegations are fully and completely investigated so that appropriate action can be taken when warranted.”

Richland Two and the elementary school involved cooperated fully throughout the investigation and have been notified of the findings.

The Voice has not been able to contact the father, but WIS reporter Lauren Adams spoke with him following the investigation and WIS anchor Judi Gatson had this to say in an update posted on her Facebook page:

“Our reporter, Lauren Adams, just talked to the dad. He told her he has apologized to the administrator.

“He thanked the Richland County Sheriff’s Department and said he feels it best to relocate his daughter to another school.

“He also said he’s going to put his daughter in counseling and seek counseling as parents.

“The father told Lauren he plans to conduct his own investigation into why his daughter knows those words/actions and to see if she was sexually assaulted.

“To be clear, the Richland County Sheriff’s investigators say their thorough and exhaustive investigation exploring all possibilities revealed no signs or evidence of any abuse.”


The following press release was issued by the Richland County Sheriff’s office this morning:

Sheriff Leon Lott announces that no charges will be filed against the Richland Two school administrator who was accused of sexual misconduct.

After an intense investigation which included interviewing multiple witnesses and the individuals involved, as well as reviewing surveillance video from school cameras, investigators determined that the incident did not occur as described by the child and that the administrator did not do anything improper.

The Richland County Sheriff’s Department began investigating on Monday, after the parent of a Richland Two elementary student raised concerns about an incident involving an administrator.

On Tuesday night, that parent spoke about the allegations during the public participation portion of the school board meeting.

“As parents, we want to believe that our kids are always truthful with us, but sometimes it turns out that’s not the case,” Sheriff Lott said. “However, we have a duty to make sure that any allegations are fully and completely investigated so that appropriate action can be when warranted.”

Richland Two and the elementary school involved cooperated fully throughout the investigation and have been notified of the findings.


BLYTHEWOOD – A Richland 2 administrator has been put on leave after being accused of strip-searching an elementary school student, school officials have reported.

A man identifying himself as the child’s father told The Voice in an interview on Wednesday that the incident occurred at Bethel-Hanberry Elementary in Blythewood.

The alleged incident occurred on Wednesday, Nov. 11 according to the father who addressed the Richland 2 School Board Tuesday night, Nov. 16, saying his first-grade daughter had been the victim of a strip-search at her school.

District officials say they became aware of the allegations against the administrator after an email from the child’s father was received by school officials on Monday, Nov. 15.

The allegations became public during a Tuesday school board meeting when the father described the particulars of the incident during the public comment period.

The district issued a statement Wednesday, saying the Superintendent Dr. Baron Davis said, “Richland Two does not tolerate any type of misconduct involving students and always fully investigates any reports of possible violations of laws, policies and procedures.”

Davis was quoted as saying, “I want to reassure the entire Richland Two family that providing safe, nurturing and caring environments that support quality teaching and learning at all of our schools remains our top priority,” he said.

The child’s father, who can be seen addressing the board in the video, told The Voice on Wednesday, Nov. 17 that the family had not yet been contacted by Davis.

The Voice was also told on Wednesday that at least some school board members had not been made aware of the alleged incident before it came up during the public comment period.

“I was not aware of the incident at all until I heard about it during the [father’s] public presentation,” School Board Member LaShonda McFadden told The Voice. “I don’t believe any of the board members were aware of it prior to the presentation.”

The livestream video of that meeting is no longer available on Richland 2’s website.

The video of the meeting is password-protected and is accompanied by a note. “Based on the advice of the district’s Director of Safety and Security, the availability of the livestream video from the meeting is currently restricted to protect the identity of a minor involved in an investigation. The district is exercising as much caution as possible during this ongoing investigation.”

In the prepared statement, the district said the allegations were “disturbing to hear just as they were disturbing to read about in the email.”

The district is required by law to protect “all individuals involved in the investigations,” Davis said in the statement. The district has not revealed at which school the incident allegedly happened.

The child’s father told The Voice that he filed a report about the incident with the Richland County Sheriff’s office on Monday, Nov. 15.

The Richland County Sheriff’s office confirmed to The Voice on Wednesday, Nov. 17, that it is investigating the incident.

The Voice will update this story as information becomes available.

This story was updated on Nov. 23 at 8:30 p.m.

Comments

  1. Richland 2 School District recorded the meeting of the school board, which is a public body. I believe the District cannot edit or alter ANY portion of the public record. The District should not redact or cut out any portion of a meeting. Anyone interested in joining a lawsuit against the District, should it do so, should contact me. My lawyer is already researching this issue.

  2. Kelly E Jackson says

    This is appalling!!! Richland Two needs to be overhauled starting with the Superintendent then the Board members. I agree with Mr.Philpott, taking down/removing/editing a public video our property tax dollars contribute to appears to be shady. The parents’ clearly wanted this matter to be publicly known. The father gave out the case number. I believe is public information as well. Naturally, any information regarding a minor’s identity will be redacted. Many prayers for this family and their baby girl.

  3. M.Boykin says

    You all do realize that you shared the administrators pronoun and school thus making her identity known and the were only outlet to do so, right? Low class journalism per usual and to be expected of this “paper” . The problem with media is the need to sensationalize and spread misinformation instead of reporting unbiased facts. I hope she seeks legal counsel and now that she has been cleared of all wrong doing , goes after you all for doxxing as many shared that they confirmed her identity thanks to your post. Stick to reporting the local fairs, cow rides and the like and leave real news to those with the training to report it.
    #FakeNews

    • Shut up 😂

    • “#Fake News”? Really? I don’t think you get what that means. This is not a conspiracy involving the media. This is a small news outlet catching wind of something happening in their community and reporting on it.

  4. Charlotte says

    I don’t believe that a child in First Grade would make anything like this up. As a parent of a first grader I understand that they are aware of what is right and what is wrong. If my child told me this I would confront the person directly, not just the school board. Why didn’t she reach out to them? Something is going on here. Are we going to wait for another allegation before actions are taken? If what the child is saying is not true what is the real story? These days you can’t just trust anyone with your child. It’s sad but true.

  5. Dion McNeil says

    This is suspicious. Leon Lott is involved in rape cover ups including Leanna Culbertson (search for Culbertson v. Lott) and others. He was even involved in the Brenda Bryant case where he covered up the rape of a mentally disabled woman and her mother won a supreme court case known as Madison Bryant v. Babcock Center. I even have her recorded saying Lott covered it up. That’s why she won 125k. Never trust RCSD when they claim they’ve done an investigation into anything sex related. Their word is as good as mud.

  6. Terrence Cummings says

    This obsession with the Richland School District Two Board is both disturbing and disturbed. It is obvious to the public that there is an agenda of a minority group who dislike the majority makeup of the Board.

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