New Lawsuit filed against Charleston Co. Schools, district officials in child molestation case

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 3:21 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 2, 2021 at 7:41 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - A new lawsuit was filed Monday in the case of a former Charleston County School District employee who was allowed to continue working in a North Charleston elementary school despite child pornography being detected on his school laptop.

Multiple children have come forward in recent years saying that CCSD employee, Marvin Gethers, sexually abused them. Gethers died in 2017, and all pending criminal charges were dismissed due to this death.

The lawsuit was filed against the school district, as well as four former or current CCSD officials: former superintendent Nancy McGinley, former associate superintendent James Winbush, former Dunston Elementary School principal Janice Malone and district employee relations director Wilbert Suggs.

The lawsuit alleges the school district and leaders at the time were grossly negligent in allowing Gethers to continue working with children at Dunston even after finding child pornography on his school laptop.

There was a previous lawsuit filed in 2019 on behalf of a different victim. That lawsuit only sued CCSD.

Click here to read a breakdown of who knew what and when in this case.

This new lawsuit states the victim—who is referred to as John Doe because of the nature of the incident and because he is a minor—was in kindergarten at Dunston Elementary School from 2014-2015 when Gethers molested him.

According to the lawsuit, in 2019, Doe’s grandmother learned about Gethers’ arrest and charges of criminal sexual misconduct with a minor back in 2016. When she asked Doe about Gethers, the child said Gethers touched him inappropriately and also made the child touch Gethers back. He said Gethers threatened to kill him if he told anyone.

The lawsuit describes the “Distinguished Young Gentlemen’s Club” Gethers formed at the school. He allegedly met with victims behind closed doors in his office or in the school bathroom.

The suit claims Gethers used his authority and counselor-like position to access to school records and target children. “Armed with this research...Gethers created, organized and hand selected at-risk male students in kindergarten, first, second and third grades who lives solely with their respective mothers to become members of the ‘Distinguished Young Gentlemen Club.’”

The lawsuit lists 12 causes of action, including gross negligence, false imprisonment and violations of the 14th Amendment and Title IX. It states the victim suffered physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of sleep and more. According to the lawsuit, there were substantial expenses for medical and psychological services.

In past stories, we uncovered that Gethers was named the district’s 2015 Classified Employee of the Year even after CCSD found child porn on his school laptop. We also found out he owed his Supervisor money, and lawsuits claim that’s why he wasn’t fired for the porn.

Current CCSD Superintendent Dr. Gerrita Postlewait was not in charge of the district at the time Gethers worked there. She has apologized for how the case was mishandled and said she would not tolerate any employee to continue working for CCSD if inappropriate material of any kind was found on a computer.

Documents we obtained proved Gethers was specifically trained in child sex abuse prevention.

Judges have had to order CCSD to release evidence in the lawsuits.

There are six other alleged victims who have also come forward.

We reached out to the district for comment and are still awaiting a response.

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