November 28, 2005
Former Columbia County substitute teacher Billy Cleveland was set to be on trial Monday for eight counts of child molestation. But the state requested a continuance because one of the prosecuting attorneys is sick.
Cleveland’s attorney said Monday he plans to request a change of venue because J. Tom Morgan wants his client to get a jury that has not already heard about the case. He says his client did not commit a crime.
“I used to be a child molestation prosecutor, and this is not child molestation. If these acts are child molestation, then every male in the county is guilt of child molestation,” Morgan said.
The request has to be approved by Judge William Flemming.
To recap, the first reports of the alleged molestation came out in early May, and they were brought to the sheriff’s department a month later. Cleveland was originally indicted on seven county of molestation on August 1 by a special grand jury. An eighth was added later in the month after another alleged victim came forward. Cleveland was released on bond just days after his indictment. He pleaded not guilty to all eight counts at the end of the month.