Ruling on motion to dismiss in FUMC child abuse case to be made in next two weeks

A motion to dismiss the case against former First United Methodist Church Pastor Paige Williams was argued in Christian Circuit Court Friday afternoon.

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—took part in an evidentiary hearing Friday where they argued the commonwealth intentionally destroyed or failed to preserve evidence that could be beneficial to Williams’ defense, which defense attorney Bill Deatherage says is a violation of her constitutional right to due process.

A good portion of the arguments dealt with a hard drive, or a DVR system, that contained security footage of the inside of the daycare portion of the church. After the Hopkinsville Police Department retained the footage of the incidents in question, the physical device was returned to the church and the footage from that time is no longer accessible.  Deatherage says if they still had access to that footage, they could prove Williams was not in the building when certain incidents occurred.

Special prosecutor Blake Chambers contends that no intentional decisions were ever made to withhold any type of evidence from the defense.

Ultimately, Judge John Atkins delayed ruling on the motion, though he did say he is inclined to deny it, ordering all parties to file written arguments containing all the evidence for their points within the next week, when he will then review them and make a ruling by May 25.

Lawyers for the co-defendants in this case have filed to join in on the motion to dismiss. 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.