Gethers emails released detailing “IOU” to CCSD supervisor

Gethers emails released detailing “IOU” to CCSD supervisor

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Copies of emails obtained from a Freedom of Information Act request detail, in Marvin Gethers’ own words, the debt he owed to his Charleston County Schools supervisor.

Last month we shared information from CCSD’s confidential report about the employee accused of accessing child pornography on a district laptop. The report revealed Gethers owed money to a key decision maker at the district, Dr. James Winbush.

Today we received copies of the actual emails referenced in the report.

Child pornography was detected on Gethers’ school laptop Monday, January 27, 2014. On Friday that week, emails between school leaders show Gethers was asked to write a statement and sent home on administrative leave.

Four months later, in May, Wilbert Suggs with CCSD Employee Relations emailed Winbush. Suggs wrote a North Charleston detective noticed “Mr. Gethers was at Dunston working. The detective questioned that since he knew NCPD was involved in an investigation...”

Dr. Winbush replied simply: “Yes he has returned to work, and reprimanded.”

May 2014 Email from Employee Relations to Dr. Winbush. NCPD had noticed Gethers was allowed back to work.
May 2014 Email from Employee Relations to Dr. Winbush. NCPD had noticed Gethers was allowed back to work.

Winbush then emailed Gethers, saying he trusted Gethers’ boss Principal Janice Malone, and “I trust me when it comes to knowing peoples character.”

Other emails show the two men had some sort arrangement about money. Winbush wrote things such as, ”Four months ago you came to me as a man needing my help… Sir, what happened to our trust? Now that made sad Mr. G."

Dr. Winbush emailed Marvin Gethers reminding him he'd let him keep his job and that Gethers had let him down.
Dr. Winbush emailed Marvin Gethers reminding him he'd let him keep his job and that Gethers had let him down.

Gethers replied, “Forgive me… I may not have been man enough to come to you... I will forever be indebted to you… I still owe you a debt.”

May 2014 Email from Gethers to Winbush, asking for forgiveness and promising to pay back his financial debt.
May 2014 Email from Gethers to Winbush, asking for forgiveness and promising to pay back his financial debt.

“If your subordinate owes you money, and you have the ability to hire and fire him, common sense tells you that if you want to be paid back – the only way to get paid back is if the guy who owes you money has a job. That is alarming to me," said Mark Peper, an attorney representing multiple children who say they were molested by Gethers at Dunston Elementary during this same time frame.

Gethers was promoted to parent advocate and named the Classified Employee of the Year for CCSD in 2015. That honor allowed the use of a district vehicle and iPad.

Gethers was arrested and charged in 2016.

In his emails Gethers also says he had a part-time job during this time, but he had to quit because of health reasons. Gethers died in 2017 from heart failure.

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