Charge dismissed against former Capital High School principal

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The former principal of Capital High School in Kanawha County claims he was wrongly charged following a sexual assault involving two students at his school.

File photo Clinton Giles

On Wednesday, Kanawha County Circuit Judge Carrie Webster dismissed a misdemeanor charge against Clinton Giles, 64, who had been accused of not immediately reporting the assault that happened on Jan. 26 to law enforcement authorities.

The charge was based on a section of state law dealing with mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect.

Webster said there was “ambiguity” in the law that state lawmakers have since attempted to clarify with a bill that was awaiting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s signature.

Giles maintained he followed state law and Kanawha County school policy when the notification was made the day after the assault, within a 48 hour period. Giles said, because of that, there was never any case against him.

“In a nutshell, the wrong person was accused, under the wrong part of the statute, with a crime that does not even exist even though an act of the West Virginia Legislature this past week during the final days of regular session amended the statute ‘to add clarity,’” Giles said after Wednesday’s dismissal.

“There never was a case against me. Only through malicious intent could this have happened. We should all shudder to think that this was a mere mistake.”

Giles said he resigned from his job on Feb. 3 after the charge was filed and he was suspended without pay because he believed it was “the right, proper and appropriate thing to do under the circumstances.”

Since then, he said he believes he’s been the target of “a modern-day witch hunt.”

“Because of evil, vengeful, mean-spirited, vindictive people in high positions of authority and power, my family and I have been caused to endure a very humiliating, embarrassing, psychologically painful, emotionally draining and financially challenging experience which includes the abrupt and premature ending of my 37-year career as an educator,” Giles said.

“This terrible experience is not quite over, yet the question, ‘Why the rush to judgment in the first place?’ begs an answer not just for me, but for every taxpaying citizen in Kanawha County.”

Shauna Johnson/MetroNews Jim Cagle, attorney for Clinton Giles, argued for a motion to dismiss the charge Wednesday in front of Kanawha County Circuit Judge Carrie Webster.

In court, Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Chuck Miller denied claims from Jim Cagle, the attorney for Giles who filed the motion for dismissal, that prosecutors were continuing to “trash an innocent man.”

“Everybody knows something was charged that should never have been charged,” Cagle said.

Miller argued the charge was filed “in good faith.”

“Being wrong and acting in good faith is not unethical,” Miller told Judge Webster who said any exploration of possible violations of the Code of Professional Conduct would have to be taken up with the Office of Disciplinary Council, not her.

Giles had no comment when asked about his future plans following Wednesday’s hearing.

On Tuesday, Dallas King, 17, was transferred to adult status and plead guilty to a charge of first degree sexual abuse for forcing another Capital High student, 15, to have sex under a school stairwell on Jan. 26. He’ll be sentenced on April 13.