Assistant principal convicted; appeals verdict

Published 11:23 am Saturday, September 4, 2010

ISLE OF WIGHT—The assistant principal at Windsor Middle School is appealing his Thursday conviction in Isle of Wight County General District Court of making unwanted sexual advances toward a 30-year-old woman in Smithfield.

Judge Warren Parker Councill found Timmie McCoy Edwards, 61, of Smithfield guilty of sexual battery by force. Edwards was fined $500 for the misdemeanor.

“I’m making an appeal,” Edwards said Friday. “There is something behind this. It’s simply not right. It’s unfair, ungodly. Anyone who knows me, knows my reputation, record and dedication to education. People who know me in this area know that that’s not my character.”

Edwards was found guilty of groping the woman and making inappropriate sexual advances while showing her his rental home on South Church Street in Smithfield on May 15.

Katherine Goff, spokeswoman for Isle of Wight County Schools, said Thursday that Edwards “will not be serving in the capacity of assistant principal at Windsor Middle School on opening day.”

She declined to comment further because it was a personnel matter.

T. Hayes Griffin, who represents the Windsor District on school board, said Edwards has been suspended since May. Board member Dr. George Bradby of the Newport District said Edwards’ salary since May has been set aside pending the outcome on the matter.

“If he’s going to appeal, then he has that right to do so,” Griffin said Friday. “We’re not going to get involved in it at all until this matter has been settled. This is a personal issue of his, and once it is settled, then we will probably get involved in it.”

According to the division’s policy manual, employees face suspension if charged with a felony or certain misdemeanors, including sexual assault.

Isle of Wight County Commonwealth’s Attorney Wayne Farmer and Randolph Raines — the attorney with the Suffolk law firm of Ferguson, Rawls & Raines who defended Edwards — could not be reached for comment Friday.