Sexual battery trial of Meridian teacher delayed

By By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
Dec. 5, 2000
Jury members were sent home Monday morning after a continuance was granted in the sexual battery trial of a suspended Meridian Public Schools teacher.
Jury members were to hear the case against 27-year-old Rodney Laron Chatham, a Carver Middle School sixth- and seventh-grade teacher indicted for the sexual battery of a 3-year-old boy.
Lauderdale County District Attorney Bilbo Mitchell said the delay was granted because defense attorneys listed a last-minute expert witness, and prosecutors did not have enough time to find their own expert witness to rebuttal testimony.
The sexual battery indictment against Chatham was re-issued last week, amending the date of the alleged abuse from February 2000 to September 1999. The indictment alleges Chatham was in a "position of trust" over the boy.
The trial was rescheduled for April 2.
Chatham faces a second trial April 16, after a grand jury returned a two-count indictment in July for the alleged 1989 lustful touching of a then 8-year-old boy and the alleged 1996 lustful touching of a then 9-year-old boy.
Carver Middle School Principal Robert Markham said Chatham has been suspended from his teaching position, and that district officials will not contemplate allowing him to return to the classroom until the criminal proceedings against him have been concluded.
In other court news, the statutory rape trial of Leon McCoy was also delayed in Lauderdale County Circuit Court. McCoy is accused of the December 1999 kidnapping and statutory rape of a then 15-year-old girl. A grand jury returned the indictments against 42-year-old Leon McCoy in March.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at mtodd@themeridianstar.com.

Franklin County

Republican primary run-off election for county commission seats takes place April 16

News

Historic Roxy Theatre celebrates 75th Anniversary with upcoming entertainment

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Mark Dunbar

Franklin County

Franklin County makes seven drug trafficking arrests

Galleries

Why Knot car show cruises into downtown Russellville

News

Get free weather radio at VFDs

Franklin County

PCHS FBLA hosts Little Miss Dream Girl Pageant

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Johnnie Pounders

Features

Sam Warf: From Tennessee to the White House and beyond

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Mousey Brown

News

Russellville First Baptist Church receives historical marker

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Meeting a higher standard – Russellville High School JROTC

News

RCS BOE announces new superintendent  

News

Miss Dream Girl Pageant names winners

Franklin County

First Metro Bank hosts FAME Girls’ Ranch donation drive

News

PCHS holds annual Shelby Grissom Memorial Fashion Show

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: VFW Post 5184 – ‘No One Does More For Veterans’

Features

Supporting students’ futures

Features

Red Bay Garden Club discusses amaryllis planting

Franklin County

UA announces local students for fall 2023 President’s, Dean’s, graduation lists

News

School news

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Troy Oliver

Franklin County

Appropriations bill passes, allots more than $3 million for new Russellville library/multipurpose center 

Franklin County

Franklin County Cattlemen’s Association names Cattleman of the Year 

x