Juvenile Judge Philyaw Denies Motions To Dismiss By Attorneys For Ooltewah High Coaches, AD; Preliminary Hearings Set

  • Thursday, January 21, 2016

Juvenile Court Judge Rob Philyaw on Thursday denied motions to dismiss filed by attorneys for two Ooltewah High basketball coaches and the athletic director in the Ooltewah High rape case.

It was agreed that there will be preliminary hearings for AD Jesse Nayadley and coaches Andres Montgomery and Karl Williams. It will be Feb. 15 at 9 a.m. before Judge Philyaw.

He said there was probable cause to proceed with the charge against them of failure to report child abuse.

They were all in Gatlinburg just before Christmas when Sevier County authorities said four freshmen basketball players were sexually assaulted. Three players are charged with aggravated rape and assault.

Attorney Lee Davis, referencing a "totem pole" theory of the case, said if AD Nayadley was to be charged, then other administrators higher on the chain should be as well. He said, "There should be three more benches here" - referring to Ooltewah High Principal Jim Jarvis, Assistant Supt. Lee McDade and Supt. Rick Smith.

Attorney Davis said Nayadley was at the Gatlinburg tournament with his wife and daughter "as a father of a player on the team." He said he was staying 10-12 miles from the rental cabin where the incident took place.

He said Nayadley's son - a freshman on the team - "was one of the victims."

District Attorney Neal Pinkston said Nayadley coached a third game the team played in Gatlinburg after the Dec. 22 incident.

Attorney Davis said Nayadley, when he learned of the incident, called principal Jarvis, who relayed it to Lee McDade and then apparently on to Rick Smith. It was Asst. Supt. McDade who made the decision for the team to keep playing in the tournament, it was stated.

DA Pinkston  told the judge, "No one caring for this child ever contacted the proper authorities. They never bothered to report it to anyone."

He said it was reported by the hospital after one of the players who was severely injured when a pool cue was stuck up his rectum was taken to the hospital for the second time.

DA Pinkston said such charges should be handled in the county where the victims reside. Attorneys said only Sevier County has jurisdiction. DA Pinkston said the failure to report charges, which are misdemeanors, could have been heard in either county.

Attorney Curtis Bowe said Montgomery "did everything he was suppose to do," including taking the injured player to the hospital twice and spending days with him in the hospital.

He said Sevier County authorities thoroughly investigated the case and did not take any action against the three adults. He said, "They were cleared of any wrongdoing whatsoever." 

Judge Philyaw agreed with attorneys that sections of the law dealing with failure to report (403 and 605) in some cases seem to conflict and are not clear. He said the Legislature needs to rewrite those laws.

He agreed with DA Pinkston that this may be a unique case "both nationally and in the state of Tennessee" and there is little or no guidance in the law books for handling it.

Judge Philyaw also said the case illustrates the need for anyone having the care and custody of children to be aware that if they learn of any child sexual assault they are to notify law enforcement and the Department of Childrens Services. 

He said it is important "to get the message out" about the responsibility adults have to report such crimes and that "the protection of children is of utmost importance."

The judge asked the attorneys if they wanted a preliminary hearing. After a recess, all said they did.

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