Thursday, January 9, 2014
A registered sex offender who was arrested in 2000 for showing his private parts to a 15-year-old boy and attempting to get the boy into his van, has been allowed to help at Waccamaw High School functions this year, school officials said.
The father of a band student at the school, the parent was initially charged with: Lewd Act Upon a Child Under 16, Indecent Exposure, and Failure to Stop When Signaled, according to a City of Georgetown Police report dated Sept. 26, 2000.
He was convicted of Indecent Exposure on Dec. 11, 2000 and served one year and eight days in jail, according to the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office Sex Offender listing on its website.
The parent also failed to register as a sex offender in June 2006.
The parent could not be reached for comment by press time.
The fact that a registered sex offender was involved in some way with the Waccamaw High School Marching Band was brought to the attention of the Times by a couple that has filed Title IX complaints with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.
Those complaints are currently under investigation.
When asked on Dec. 18, 2013 whether the school’s principal, David Hammel, or the Georgetown County School District knew about the parent’s background, the school district’s attorney Andrea White responded that Hammel had known about him being a sex offender for three weeks — after he discovered that the criminal background portion of the parent’s volunteer form was not filled out.
She said Hammel had been told by the parent that the offense was public urination.
She said school district officials knew nothing about the parent being a sex offender.
In an e-mail later that day, White stated that “when Mr. Hammel learned of the charge and discussed it with (the parent), both agreed that (the parent) would cease any further involvement with the Marching Band, which was in any event ending the season.”
In an e-mail dated Jan. 9, 2014 White stated that the parent was not a volunteer at Waccamaw High School.
“He is the parent of a child who attends Waccamaw High School and, in that capacity, he attended after-hours school events, including several football games. As a parent of a band member, he assisted other band parents with moving sets onto and off of the football field during half-time. He has not attended any events on school grounds since October 2013. (The parent) never served as a chaperone, never volunteered with students during the school day, and did not act as a volunteer in any other capacity.”
White went on to say:
“The District is always working to ensure that students are not at risk, and, in that regard, the District does have volunteer screening processes in place, which include background checks and review of references. The District does have a policy noting that individuals whose names appear on the Sexual Offender Registry will not be permitted to serve in the District in any capacity, but that the District has final discretion whether to allow an individual to volunteer.
“In any case in which the District learns that a volunteer has information in their background which might be of concern, the District will follow up with that individual to determine the specific circumstances of that information and then act accordingly. The District’s primary focus in making decisions whether to allow a volunteer to serve is to ensure that its students are not exposed to potential harm.”