- Associated Press - Thursday, April 17, 2014

HAYNEVILLE, Ala. (AP) - An attorney for the Lowndes County school board has asked Hayneville officials to withdraw a warrant issued for the arrest of the county school superintendent.

“This is a terrible mistake on the part of the town of Hayneville,” attorney Hank Sanders said.

Hayneville Police Chief Kelvin Mitchell told WAKA-TV that an arrest warrant was issued for the superintendent, and he must turn himself in by 4 p.m. Friday. He will have a $12,150 cash bond.

The warrant includes 243 misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment. The warrant is the result of a case involving a former school janitor, who resigned and pleaded guilty April 9 to enticement of a child for immoral purposes. The warrant reflects the number of female students at two schools where the janitor worked, Sanders said.

Sanders, who is also a state senator from Selma, said the Lowndes County school system received a complaint from a 13-year-old female student at Hayneville Middle School that she was inappropriately touched by the janitor in September 2013. He said school officials notified the Department of Human Resources. School officials also conducted their own investigation. After the investigation, the school board returned the janitor to work at a different school, Central Elementary School in Mosses.

A Lowndes County grand jury indicted the janitor, Lee Andrew Saffold, in January on several charges. He pleaded guilty to the enticement charge earlier this month and the others were dropped.

Sanders said the police chef is upset because the principal didn’t notify him of the complaint, but the principal was following state law when he notified DHR.

“He informs DHR and DHR informs the law enforcement people. So he wanted to arrest him for that. This, in my opinion, is a personal vendetta,” Sanders said.

Mitchell tried to arrest the superintendent at a school board meeting April 10, but he was suspended by the mayor for insubordination. The city council and mayor reinstated him Monday, with the understanding he would allow the superintendent to turn himself in.

“If the chief can successfully do this, then no superintendent in the state is safe from making any decision because a local police chief can override that decision and arrest you,” Sanders told WSFA-TV.

The police chief said there is nothing personal. “I’m just sworn to protect and serve and I’m trying to do my job,” Mitchell said.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide