The Northwestern High School assistant principal accused of sexual misconduct with a student promised to protect the girl from bullies if she complied with his sexual demands – and threatened to harm the girl’s school records if she didn’t, a Rock Hill detective told a judge Wednesday.
Kenneth Andrew Williams, 30, of Park Ridge Lane, is charged with four counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor and one count each of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor and unlawful conduct toward a child.
Municipal Court Judge Dolores Williams on Wednesday set Williams’ bond at $110,000. She said Williams must have no contact with the 16-year-old victim or her family and that he cannot allow anyone else to contact them on his behalf.
Rock Hill police Detective Ryan Thomas told the judge Williams had an “extensive sexual relationship” with the victim since she was 15. He said investigators found a “trail of evidence that concretely and definitely supported her account.”
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
He told the judge the most disturbing aspect of the investigation was “the depth of Williams’ coercion and manipulative control” over the girl to keep the crimes secret.
Thomas said the victim feared for her safety. At one point, he said, Williams “threatened to take her and her younger sibling away from their mother to the extent that she would never see them again; the victim believes these threats.”
Arrest warrants allege Williams coerced the girl by “threatening to harm her school records, and by protecting her from bullies at school if she complied with his sexual demands.” Warrants also accuse him of threatening to “allow her injury from bullies at school if she denied his demands.”
Since the girl reported the crimes, Thomas said, “she’s hardly slept at night. She sits up and stares out the window at night waiting for Mr. Williams to show up at her residence and harm her family.”
Thomas asked the judge to set a high bond. He said investigators who dug into Williams’ past found that he has a “reputation among the student body in multiple Rock Hill area schools of being a pedophile due to his proclivity of sleeping with female students.”
Thomas also made reference to numerous comments about the case on The Herald’s Facebook page, saying they show that Williams’ reputation was known in the community.
Williams’ attorney, Twana Burris-Alcide, asked the judge for a reasonable bond, saying her client “is invested in our community” and has no criminal history.
Burris-Alcide said her client, who is single and originally from Pendleton in Anderson County, has parents and step-parents here, who attended the hearing. She said he earned undergraduate and master’s degrees from Winthrop University.
Victim’s advocate Avanette Gregory, who accompanied the victim to the courtroom, read a letter from the victim’s mother. The letter said the girl has had nightmares for months and that Williams had left the girl “with a feeling of fear, shame, guilt, hopelessness.”
The Herald does not name victims of sex crimes or their family members, to avoid identifying the victim.
The victim, a junior at Northwestern High, reported the incidents to a school resource officer on April 20, police said. School officials said the girl was being restrained by the officer when she “yelled out” the accusations against Williams. The officer turned the case over to Rock Hill detectives, who say the incidents began around May 2014.
Williams has been placed on paid administrative leave while the case is investigated, a school district spokesman said.
During the hearing, the judge said the criminal sexual conduct with a minor charge dates to May 6, 2014. She said the four third-degree criminal sexual conduct charges date to incidents on July 15, Aug. 5 and Aug. 6, 2015, and Jan. 1, 2016.
Police spokesman Capt. Mark Bollinger said the unlawful conduct charge dates to Aug. 20 at Northwestern. He said the girl came to Kenneth Williams and told him she was going to be beaten up by another student, but Williams did not act to help her.
“He had a responsibility to protect her,” Bollinger said.
Officers are still investigating, he said, and they have made the school resource officer at Rock Hill High, where Williams previously taught physical education, aware of allegations against Williams because that school is outside the city limits.
“There may be more people come forward,” Bollinger said.
Williams set a June 27 court date for the case and an Aug. 9 trial date, both at Moss Justice Center.
Jennifer Becknell: 803-329-4077