Former FUMC pastor seeking to dismiss child abuse case against her

Former First United Methodist Church pastor Paige Williams has filed a motion to dismiss the child abuse case against her.

Lawyers for Williams and the other three defendants—former church day care director Abby Leach and former day care workers Allison Simpson and Nina Morgan—appeared in Christian Circuit Court Tuesday morning.

Special prosecutor Blake Chambers appeared virtually and Circuit Judge John Atkins scheduled a May 13 court date to hear testimony from witnesses called by attorney Bill Deatherage, who filed the motion to dismiss.

Chambers noted that Deatherage claims misconduct by the commonwealth in his motion and reaffirmed that the burden will be on Deatherage to convince the judge of any impropriety.

The motion filed April 26 accuses the commonwealth of intentionally destroying or failing to preserve evidence that could be beneficial to Williams’ defense, which Deatherage says is a violation of her constitutional right to due process.

Judge Atkins told the other attorneys to file paperwork soon if they intend to join Williams’ motion and told Chambers it’s appearing more likely the four defendants won’t be able to be tried at the same time.

Indictments against Leach and Williams allege they “breached their legal duty to protect the minor children by failing to prevent Simpson and Morgan from intentionally abusing children.” In each count, the victim is described as being under the age of 13 months old.

Simpson is indicted on 30 counts of criminal child abuse. All 30 counts are alleged to have happened between December 19 of 2018 and January 18 of 2019. Eleven of the counts are against the same infant and a total of eight children are listed as victims in all of the allegations.

Nina Morgan is indicted for two counts of criminal child abuse.