Suspended principal says he wants details of case to come out

By Kate White, Staff writer

Suspended Capital High School Principal Clinton Giles said Wednesday he looks forward to more details coming out about the investigation into a reported sexual assault at his school, which resulted in him facing a criminal charge.

“I’m eager for all the facts to be revealed,” Giles said when reached at his home Wednesday afternoon, a day after Kanawha County prosecutors charged him with failing to immediately report the alleged sexual assault of a 15-year-old female student. “The matter is under investigation and will be litigated.”

Giles, 64, could face 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, according to prosecutors. His case has been assigned to Kanawha Circuit Judge Carrie Webster, who will issue an order telling Giles when to appear in court over the charge.

Giles, who has been the principal at Capital since 2002, has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the case, said Jim Withrow, attorney for Kanawha County Schools. The suspension is standard protocol when an employee is charged with a crime related to their employment, he said.

The female student at Capital High reported that she was raped by a 17-year-old male student under a stairwell in the school on the morning of Jan. 26. She told a counselor and the counselor told Giles that afternoon. However, Giles didn’t report the incident to police until the next day, Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Charles Miller said.

“The delay in reporting jeopardized the investigation,” Miller said at a news conference Tuesday. “As anyone who knows anything about sexual assaults can certainly imagine, evidence of sexual assaults quickly dissipates.”

Giles and other school officials have said they had 48 hours to report the incident, but Miller said that isn’t correct and that it should have been reported immediately.

Kanawha Schools Superintendent Ron Duerring said school administrators, teachers and service personnel take annual online tests that include instruction on how to report sexual assault allegations. He didn’t know Wednesday if Giles had completed the online module for this school year.

“Certainly, we will continue to look to see if we need any additional training in this area,” Duerring said.

Giles wouldn’t talk about the charge Wednesday or name an attorney who’s representing him.

“It would be inappropriate for me to comment,” he said. “I don’t feel as though I’m in the position to make any comment.”

The male student has been charged with second-degree sexual assault.

Authorities say Giles was aware of a sexual assault allegation leveled against the same student on Feb. 14, 2014. Giles did report that incident to police, according to Miller, but the student was not charged.

According to the criminal complaint, Giles took no action on Jan. 26, except to tell two Capital vice principals that they shouldn’t do anything until the next morning, when they could review school surveillance video. Giles also didn’t tell Charleston Police Department Officer Robert Brown, who serves as the school’s prevention resource officer, even though Giles and Brown had contact after Giles found out about the alleged incident, according to the complaint.

The morning of Jan. 27, a Capital vice principal told Giles that surveillance video showed a struggle between the male and female students. Giles then allegedly told the vice principal not to tell Brown about the incident until Giles had talked with county schools officials.

Giles was scheduled Wednesday to be honored at a program held to celebrate Black History Month. Organizers with the 11th Family Court Circuit Bench/Bar Committee said Giles notified them Tuesday evening he wouldn’t attend.

Giles is Kanawha County’s highest-paid and longest-serving principal. He made about $92,600 a year until Dec. 1, when the local school board approved significant pay increases for him and all other middle and high school principals and assistant principals.

In 2013, Duerring suspended Giles for three days for ignoring a directive from Duerring, according to previous reports. An official said at the time there was something on Capital’s website that Duerring asked Giles to take down and that Giles refused.

Before becoming principal of Capital, Giles served as vice principal at the school 14 years. According to a biography of Giles included in the program from Wednesday’s Black History Month celebration, Giles earned his master’s degree in education from the West Virginia College of Graduate Studies in 1981. He also has worked as a coal miner and was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in 1971.

Reach Kate White at kate.white@wvgazette.com, 304-348-1723 or @KateLWhite on Twitter.