CHARLESTON – Despite a dismissal six months ago, Tim Edmonds may still face criminal charges he sexually abused a 16-year-old student at the Upper Kanawha Valley Christian School in Chesapeake.
Currently, Edmonds, 37, is named as a co-defendant in a civil suit along with UKVSC, Chesapeake Apostolic Church and its pastor, K. D. Priddy. In the suit, Hernshaw residents James and Debbie Green allege Edmonds sexually abused their daughter in 2006, who at the time was a UKVSC student.
According to court records, the Greens claim that CAC, which oversees UKVSC, and Priddy, who is Edmonds' father-in-law, were alerted to allegations that Edmonds engaged in "prior sexual deviant behavior ... at a previous congregation," but conducted no investigation into the allegations. Furthermore, the Greens allege that prior to May 10, 2006, Edmonds, acting as CAC's assistant youth pastor, "did sexually abuse and/or assault the individual plaintiff both at Chesapeake Apostolic Church building proper and at a house located at 11937 MacCorkle Ave."
Edmonds committed these acts to "gratify a perverted sexual need," the suit alleges. In their respective replies to the suit, CAC, Priddy and Edmonds deny the allegations, including the fact that he at any time served in the church administration.
Prior to filing their civil suit, Greens lodged a complaint against Edmonds with the West Virginia State Police. According to court records, their daughter wrote them a letter on April 20, 2006 saying there'd been kissing between she and Edmonds of "an intimate nature."
Also, she told police that on several occasions she'd been alone with Edmonds for long periods of time at both the church, and 11937 MacCorkle Ave., a home owned by the Priddy's which was being remodeled. During these times alone, Edmonds would ask her to wear pantyhose, and would take pictures with her "dress pulled up and wearing the pantyhose in a sexually explicit position."
After finding probable cause, police arrested Edmonds on May 2, 2006 and charged him with one count of sexual abuse by a parent or guardian.
However, those charges were later dismissed on Nov. 27, 2007. The dismissal of the charges came five minutes after the Green's attorney, Henry E. Wood III, concluded a deposition of Edmonds in the civil case.
According to his deposition, Edmonds, on the advice of his legal counsel George Joseph, asserted his Fifth Amendment rights in answering any questions pertaining to allegations of criminal conduct.
The timing of the dismissal was purely coincidental, says Assistant Kanawha Prosecutor Scott Reynolds. Though he was not personally handling the case, he submitted the order to Kanawha Circuit Judge Tod J. Kaufman five days earlier based on the fact that Edmonds had not been indicted within a year of being charged.
The reason an indictment had yet to be brought, Reynolds said, was due to the lack of a completed report from the State Police.
"We don't present cases to the grand jury without a complete report from an officer, especially in case involving a sex crime," Reynolds said.
Nevertheless, Reynolds did acknowledge that the prosecutor's office received a completed report in the Green case last month. Another assistant is reviewing the case to determine whether the state wants to indict Edmonds a future meeting of the grand jury.
Because Kaufman's dismissal order was made without prejudice, Reynolds said the charges can be refiled against Edmonds.
The West Virginia Record attempted to obtain a comment from Edmonds' court-appointed counsel, Assistant Kanawha Public Defender John Sullivan. However, Sullivan declined to comment.
In West Virginia, sexual abuse by parent or guardian is punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison, and carries a fine of $500 to $5,000.