August, 26, 2005
A substitute teacher accused of molesting students is arraigned in court Friday. With close family and friends by his side, Billy Cleveland denies all of the charges. News 12 has the latest from court.
It all lasted five minutes. Former substitute teacher Billy Cleveland entered not guilty pleas on all eight counts of child molestation.
“It’s too early for us to have a strategy. We don’t know the evidence that they have against him. We have not received any of that evidence. We get to review that evidence and then we get to decide what we need to do to protect him,” said Scott Connell, Cleveland’s attorney.
In the courtroom, a handful of Cleveland supporters, but clearly not as many as the 100 who showed up at his bond hearing. Cleveland is thankful for that show of support. And in one of his comments outside the courtroom, Cleveland says everyone needs to give him his right, a fair trial.
“Only guy who gave me a good report like you didn’t think I was guilty before I done anything,” Cleveland said.
Cleveland is accused of molesting eight girls while working as a sub at Riverside and Brookwood Elementaries last May. After a summer-long investigation, a grand jury returned seven charges. And eighth charge was just added this week.
“When we went to grand jury with the seven counts originally there were scheduled interviews, at least three, and of those three, there was at least one disclosure,” said Capt. Steve Morris.
Cleveland walks to a waiting car after the arraignment, free on bond.
“What will show my innocence? I can’t go into anything because my attorney asked me not to,” Cleveland said.
No date set at this time for trail, but the Cleveland following is expected back in full force.
A refresher course in what’s happened so far: the alleged incidents happened over a about a two week period in May. Administrators told police about the possible abuse on June 14. The grand jury indicted Cleveland on August 1, he also turned himself in that day. That same day the grand jury also indicted Barbara Gleitsmann, the assistant principal at Brookwood Elementary, for failing to report the crimes immediately. Riverside Elementary Principal Jeanie Hill was demoted for the incident, but was not indicted by the grand jury. She has since retired.