Trial postponed for former FUMC pastor, daycare director

Trial was postponed Monday morning in Christian Circuit Court for the former First United Methodist Church pastor and daycare director facing child abuse charges.

Attorney Bill Deatherage represents former pastor Paige Williams and has filed a motion to disqualify Judge John Atkins from presiding over the trial, which was set to begin Monday. Judge Atkins contacted Chief Justice John Minton, who told him he did not intend to have a hearing on the motion and would instead let the local court decide.

Judge Atkins ordered a recess for the attorneys to contact the chief justice themselves and while that sentiment was also what they took from the conversation, special prosecutor Blake Chambers noted no official order was issued as of about 11 a.m. Monday.

All parties agreed to not sever the cases and the attorney for former daycare director Abby Leach—David Bundrick—recommended having another hearing Friday morning and deciding how to proceed at that time with whatever information has been received.

Judge Atkins said the time will also give the other parties time to file whatever responses they have to Deatherage’s motion before a potential hearing.

The judge says he wants the new trial date to be “as soon as humanly possible.”

Williams and Leach are accused of failing in their legal duty to protect children in their care from abuse by former daycare worker Allison Simpson, who was convicted last month of 12 counts of first-degree criminal abuse and 12 counts of third-degree criminal child abuse. All of the victims in the case are infants, under one-year old.