Two Franklin County Schools officials will go back to the courtroom on Tuesday for pretrial conferences on misdemeanor criminal charges. A lawyer for the district's superintendent expressed optimism and said he expects the case to be "all cleared" Tuesday, while a lawyer for the principal predicts his client's case will go to a trial.
Superintendent Mark Kopp and Bondurant Middle School Principal Whitney Allison both pleaded not guilty last month to charges stemming from sexual abuse allegations against former Bondurant teacher Todd Smith.
Kopp is facing a charge of attempted bribery of a public servant and Allison is facing a count of failure to report child dependency, neglect or abuse. Both are misdemeanors.
Kopp and Allison are set to attend pretrial conferences on Tuesday afternoon. Smith had a similar conference on Nov. 8. He previously pleaded not guilty and the case is scheduled for a jury trial on Dec. 9 beginning at 9:30 a.m., according to court documents. He is charged with two counts of first-degree sexual abuse. The alleged victims were under the age of 16.
According to a report made by Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy Monty Chappell, Allison failed to report suspected abuse by Smith earlier this year. In his report, Chappell alleged that Kopp pressured the deputy to make the investigation against Allison go away. Chappell wrote that he took that to mean that Kopp would do him a favor by not rehiring Jeff Abrams, a former Frankfort police chief, as the school district’s first school safety coordinator. Abrams still works in the school district.
County Attorney Rick Sparks, who is prosecuting Kopp and Allison, said that during pretrial conferences, both sides will delineate issues in the case, solidify discovery and look at any other legal matters. Pretrial conferences are held to schedule future proceedings.
Tom Miller, of the Lexington-based Miller, Griffin and Marks law firm, which is representing Kopp in his case, said the team was “optimistic” ahead of Tuesday’s conference.
Kopp’s lawyers previously filed a motion to dismiss the case and Miller said a hearing is scheduled to take place during the pretrial conference. A decision could be rendered on the motion, but the judge can take more time to grant or dismiss the motion, Miller said. If the motion is denied, the case would go to trial.
“I think it will be all cleared tomorrow,” Miller said.
Allison’s lawyer, Fred Peters of Lexington, said his client's case is still in the discovery phase. He previously filed a motion for discovery to see evidence that went before a grand jury, which indicted Allison.
"I do expect it to go to trial," Peters said of Allison's case.