Decision in Williams’ case expected next week

Published 5:57 pm Friday, August 22, 2008

A specially appointed judge will determine in a week if probable cause exists to have a grand jury consider sexual harassment charges against a Dallas County commissioner.

Judge Don McMillan of Perry County heard nearly three hours of testimony from six witnesses in a case against Commissioner Curtis Williams.

“It’s a serious matter,” the judge said after hearing testimony, adding that he would issue an order in the case by Aug. 29.

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Williams is accused of sexually harassing Lee Cleveland, 24, a former student at Southside High School. Williams has said he is innocent of the allegation.

Cleveland claimed Williams harassed her during a meeting at his office in May after she came to Southside’s campus to get a copy of her transcript.

Yet during the hearing Friday morning at the Dallas County Courthouse, Theron Stokes, one of two attorneys representing Williams, said another witness, Kim Brown, testified she remained in the room with Williams and Cleveland the entire time Cleveland was present and did not witness any kind of unwelcome advances.

“Student Kim Brown said, ‘I was there during the whole time,'” Stokes said during final presentations before the judge. “Nothing happened. No one saw this. No one heard this.”

At least one other witness said Brown left Wiliams’ office when Cleveland arrived. But under cross examination from the defense, said she might have been mistaken and Brown might have remained in the room, said John Kelly, who also represents Williams.

Assistant District Attorney John Oxford contended that the victim’s testimony was correct. She described what had occurred with Williams and testified nobody stayed in Williams’ office with them.

Williams is no longer assistant principal at Southside. He works in the Dallas County School System’s alternative school.

Dallas County voters of District 3 re-elected Williams as commissioner. He will continue to serve as commissioner, said Probate Judge Kim Ballard.

The only thing that affects a commissioner or public official is a conviction of a felony, Ballard said.