Kanawha prosecutor in “awkward situation” in Giles case

By Samuel Speciale, Education reporter

 

Kanawha prosecutor in “awkward situation” in Giles case

The recent passing of legislation clearing up the state’s mandatory reporting laws may complicate the prosecution of former Capital High School Principal Clinton Giles, Kanawha County Prosecutor Chuck Miller said Monday.

Miller said the passing of the bill has put his office into an “awkward situation” because it clarifies the state’s mandatory reporting statute, which Giles is being prosecuted under.

That law requires all teachers and school personnel to immediately report any physical or sexual assault involving a child. Giles was charged last month with a misdemeanor for not immediately reporting the assault of a 15-year-old female student on campus.

An investigation by Miller’s office found that Giles knew of the incident but did not report it to a Charleston police officer stationed at the school, opting instead to seek further instruction from the Kanawha County School Board.

Defending their decision to delay reporting, Giles and board officials have said the law is unclear whether the assault should have been disclosed immediately or within 48 hours.

If Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signs the bill into law, that potential loophole will be closed.

Because the law needed clarifying, Giles’ defense will seek a dismissal of charges, Miller said.

“And we won’t oppose that if it’s what the judge decides,” Miller said.

Giles is set to appear before Kanawha Circuit Judge Carrie Webster Wednesday. If convicted, he faces 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. While he resigned as Capital’s principal, Giles pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Miller also said Giles has filed an ethics complaint against the prosecution that should be addressed at Wednesday’s hearing.

Dallas King, the 17-year-old Capital High student who agreed last week to plead guilty to the assault, also awaits trial.

Contact writer Samuel Speciale at sam.speciale@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4886. Follow him at www.twitter.com/wvschools.