A former Chestatee High School basketball coach is no longer charged with felony sexual assault against a student because he was not a teacher at the school where that student attended.
That charge therefore does not apply, according to Northeastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Lee Darragh who then kicked the case down to state court.
Webster Demetrius Daniel, of Oakwood, is charged with two counts of sexual battery, five counts of simple battery, one count of simple assault and one count of reckless conduct, according to a May 8 accusation filed by Hall County Solicitor General Stephanie Woodard.
Though Daniel was a basketball coach at Chestatee High, he was employed as an in-school-suspension teacher for Chestatee Middle, according to Darragh’s transfer notice.
The allegations stem from alleged offenses Nov. 16, 2017, involving a 16-year-old female student at Chestatee High.
Sexual assault of a student is defined in the Georgia code as a sexual assault by a person who “has supervisory or disciplinary authority over another,” which is defined later in the code section as “a teacher, principal, assistant principal, or other administrator of any school and engages in sexual contact with such other individual who the actor knew or should have known is enrolled at the same school.”
Darragh added the emphasis of “at the same school.”
“Until such time that the legislature makes appropriate changes to the law, this charge would not apply because the defendant did not work as a teacher in the same school as the victim,” Darragh wrote.
Daniel’s attorney A.J. Richman did not immediately return a request for comment.
Daniel was suspended by school administrators Nov. 17, 2017, and his case turned over to law enforcement. He was arrested by Hall County Sheriff’s Office deputies and originally charged with felony sexual assault against a student and misdemeanor sexual battery.
The allegations in the accusation involve touching the student’s breasts, “pressing his erect penis” on the girl, grabbing the girl’s arm, massaging her shoulders and placing the girl “in reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury by making unwanted sexual advances.”
School district spokesman Gordon Higgins said the allegations were first reported on the morning of Nov. 17, 2017.
A school resource officer, who is an employee of the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, took a statement from the student and forwarded it to the sheriff’s office.
“Whenever there’s any kind of a report that a student may be in danger, we act on that immediately,” Hall Superintendent Will Schofield said, adding that Daniel was “removed from the presence of students” within two hours of the allegations being made. “We will always err on the side of the students whenever we have even an inkling that (they) might be in danger.”
Reporter Joshua Silavent contributed to this report.