Judge: Training records must be disclosed in Gethers case

Tuesday hearing addresses documents showing whether CCSD employees received sexual abuse prevention training

Judge: Training records must be disclosed in Gethers case

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A judge ruled Tuesday documents showing whether certain Charleston County Schools employees were trained in sexual abuse prevention must be turned over to attorneys in the Marvin Gethers case.

Gethers was the CCSD employee caught with child pornography on a school laptop in 2014. He was arrested and charged for the child porn and for child sexual assault in 2016. Our year-long Investigation showed the parent advocate was allowed to work with elementary students at Dunston Elementary for two years between the discovery of the pornography and his eventual arrest. He was also named a district employee of the year and awarded use of a district car and I-pad while police investigated.

Seven potential victims have now come forward.

Today’s hearing in Charleston County court was brief and did not directly involve the school district but rather a group called Darkness to Light.

The national non-profit does local and online training for adults to recognize the signs of child sexual abuse and learn methods for preventing it.

Mark Peper, an attorney representing several of Gethers’ alleged victims, subpoenaed Darkness to Light for training records as part of his lawsuit against CCSD and other entities they believe were negligent.

Peper said, “One of the causes of actions against the school district is negligent training. So obviously I want to know if they were trained. No one is a bigger supporter of Darkness to Light than I am, so my first reaction was surely Darkness to Light has trained the school district.”

An attorney for Darkness to Light said in court that they did not want to release any such records if they exist because they deal with such sensitive issues.

They also don’t consider themselves the custodian of training records after the certificate is issued to the person trained.

The attorney responded to questions from the judge, saying they were able to locate two of the three records Peper asked for.

Judge Benjamin H. Culbertson ruled he would not squash the subpoena and said the group does have to turn over training records subpoenaed in this case.

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