Activists push back against CCSD on pedophile scandal

Activists push back against CCSD on pedophile scandal
September 24 22:37 2018 Print This Article

A number of community activists participated in the public comment period at the Charleston County School Board meeting Monday to speak out against the handling of a 2014 incident involving an employee found with child pornography on his school computer. In January 2014, a Charleston County School District (CCSD) virus scan revealed that Dunston Elementary school employee Marvin Gethers was found to have child pornography on his school computer. Gethers was later promoted and named the CCSD Classified Employee of the Year.

Community activist Beverly Birch said that the current school board members who served in 2014 should step down. Cindy Bohn Coats served as Chairwoman at the time. Other current school board members who served at the time of the incident include Todd Garrett, Michael Miller, and Chris Collins. All four claim to have no knowledge of the incident. Gethers was later charged by two Dunston families with child molestation and was arrested by North Charleston police. He died in 2017 while awaiting trial.

Elder James Johnson, who leads the tri-county chapter of the civil rights group National Action Network, said that the children who may have been violated by Gethers should be tested for HIV. It is suspected that Gethers was HIV positive. He said, “We need to find out who those kids are.”

School board members Kevin Hollinshead and Chris Collins are concerned that Charleston law firm Young Clement Rivers was hired by CCSD staff to investigate the Gethers case without school board approval, which may be a violation of the school district’s procurement code. The law firm has a long-standing business relationship with CCSD. Hollinshead wanted the school board to hire a law firm with no financial ties to CCSD. Charleston County Legislative Delegation Chair Peter McCoy has pledged to form a committee to investigate the case.