The Transylvania Times -

By Kevin Fuller
Staff Writer 

DA: No Evidence Band Leader Assaulted Student - Brevard NC


Last updated 8/31/2016 at 7:38pm

District Attorney Greg Newman has decided not to pursue charges against Brevard High School Band Director James Leatherwood, stating there was no evidence Leatherwood assaulted a student.

Newman, who is chief prosecutor for Transylvania County, said multiple witnesses made statements that backed up Leatherwood’s version of the story, which was that he tapped a student, who had previously quit the band, on the shoulder and asked the female student to leave.

“It was not even a close call that he committed any crime,” Newman said. “There were a lot of statements given by other people” consistent with Leatherwood’s version of the story.

According to Transylvania County School Superintendent Jeff McDaris, the assault allegation was made by the student this past Thursday, the same day it allegedly occurred on campus.

A school resource officer investigated the incident, and the Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office also conducted an investigation.

Newman said the incident stemmed from when a female student, whose name has not been released, had quit the band days prior.

He said the student had returned to the band and was dancing in a group activity when Leatherwood tapped the student on the shoulder and asked her to leave.

The student alleged that Leatherwood shoved her shoulder.

Leatherwood was placed on administrative leave while the investigation ensued.

McDaris said on Tuesday that Leatherwood would return to instructional duties later that afternoon.

“The District Attorney’s office has completed their investigation into the allegation against Mr. Leatherwood and has concluded there is no evidence of wrongdoing or charges pending,” McDaris said in an email.

“I think it’s unfortunate for him,” Newman said. “I hope he’s able to return to the school.”

McDaris said it was protocol to turn the matter over to law enforcement.

Newman said he was confident a thorough investigation was conducted.

“It was well investigated by the sheriff’s office,” he said.


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