The defense team in the First United Methodist Church Daycare child abuse case filed and argued a motion to dismiss the case in Christian Circuit Court Friday afternoon, leading Judge John Atkins to defer ruling for several weeks.

Former pastor, Rev. Paige Williams, 63, Abby Leach, 35, Allison Simpson, 26, and Nina Morgan, 54, are all accused of being involved in a criminal abuse case that allegedly occurred at the FUMC Daycare.

Simpson, who is accused of being the main perpetrator in the case, is charged with 29 counts of first-degree criminal abuse of a child under the age of 12 and one count of second-degree criminal abuse of a child under the age of 12.

Williams and Leach are both charged with eight counts of complicity to first-degree criminal abuse of a child under the age of 12.

While Morgan is charged with two counts of first-degree criminal abuse of a child under the age of 12.

However, Williams’ defense attorney Bill Deatherage led the motion hearing focusing largely on footage recovered from a DVR camera system used at the church as well as footage that is no longer retrievable.

Deatherage called several witnesses to the stand, including Christian County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rick Boling, who is no longer prosecuting the case but did present the indictments against the defendants, as well as the lead detective in the case Hopkinsville Police Detective Michael Luckingham.

Through questioning of the witnesses, Deatherage pointed out that HPD only downloaded footage from five cameras within the church all of which were focused on only three rooms in the church, which were all daycare rooms.

However, there were several other cameras within the church that, if footage was recovered from, would show Williams was not in the building when the alleged abuse occurred. Deatherage also noted, through witness questioning, that the camera footage from those cameras is no longer recoverable as the cameras automatically overwrite any footage that is more than six weeks old.

“If we had these videos that (weren’t recovered), we would be able to show that on a lot of these occasions (Williams) was not in the building,” Deatherage said.

Special Prosecutor in the case Blake Chambers argued both orally and through witness questioning that HPD did not intentionally choose or act to prevent that footage from being recovered, instead, HPD chose to only recover footage relevant to the case.

For example, only recovering footage of the alleged child abuse and only using cameras in the rooms where the abuse was alleged to have occurred.

That decision was made due to the large amount of video footage and data storage it would have taken if HPD wanted to recover all of the footage throughout a six week period.

Chambers also pointed out through witness testimonies that in the cases of Williams and Leach, they are being prosecuted based on the prior knowledge of the alleged abuse and failing to act to prevent further abuse.

He contended that Williams and Leach did not have to be in the building to have prior knowledge and failing to act if they were made aware of it while outside of the church building.

Following arguments from both sides, Atkins chose to defer ruling on the motion and requested that all lawyers in the case file additional written arguments including relevant evidence by the end of next week on Friday, May 20.

Atkins added that after May 20, he will review the additional arguments and evidence and make his official ruling on the motion to dismiss by May 25.

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