By Valencia Wicker
SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) – 49-year old William Brown broke down in tears as former students expressed their support of him. Friday, a Dorchester County judge ruled there was enough evidence to send the sexual assault allegations of a 14-year old student to trial.
"It's unbelievable that someone who has an excellent reputation in this community, who's one of the finest educators to step foot in Dorchester County, has to go through this disgraceful allegations. Basically what they are calling him is a child molester," said Andy Savage, Brown's attorney.
Brown is charged with criminal solicitation of a minor and assault and battery 2nd degree.
An unnamed Dubose Middle School student says Brown, an English teacher, made several sexual passes at her during the last few days of school.
"She reported later that he had told her to come back later during 5th or 7th period, that he was "a little backed up" and she needed to do something about that," said Craig Legates, a Dorchester County Sheriff's Office detective.
"She said that later he came back, told her that she turned him on and she felt him touching her thigh," Legates said. "She described it as him taking his fingers and making a walking motion to her upper, inner thigh."
Detective Legates says they have 3 witnesses, one of which says he saw Brown inappropriately touch the victim.
"He gave a written statement stating that he did in fact see Mr. Brown, who is 49 years old, rubbing her inner thigh. He described her face and her jaw drop open and she looked very scared," Legates said.
Savage says there are gaps in the evidence presented.
"Most importantly, there was another adult in the classroom. Now, does any reasonable person think that type of conduct could have gone on in a full classroom in the middle of the day with another adult, not just children in the classroom, but, another adult? It's preposterous."
About 3 dozen students, current and former, attended the hearing in support of Brown.
"Who's to take humor as a mean manner when anyone can joke about anything. You can joke about a pencil falling on the ground and take it the wrong way but, it's Mr. Brown, it's just his humor. He's never come across anyone the wrong way," said Olivia Gibney, a student who babysits Brown's 6-year old daughter.
Brown has been recommended for termination from Dorchester District 2. He has filed an appeal and is currently in the appeals process.
Savage says it could be months before a date is set for trial.