Ooltewah High basketball coach Andre Montgomery. WRCBtv.com photo
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
UPDATE: A Hamilton County judge dropped all the charges against the former Ooltewah High School head basketball coach, Andre Montgomery.
There wasn't a dry eye from Montgomery's family as he walked out of a Hamilton County courtroom a free man.
"You have a year of not working, the stress on your family, cloud in the community and that's all significant but it comes with being charged but it is significant and it takes a toll," Montgomery's attorney Curtis Bowe said.
Judge Don Poole dropped the four counts of failing to report the sexual abuse of a child against him, dismissing the case all together, saying the legal requirement to report wasn't there.
"If the victim is between the ages of 13 and 17, then to trigger reporting requirements of the law, the perpetrator must be a member of the household," Poole said.
The judge didn't dismiss what happened inside that Gatlinburg cabin almost one year ago calling the assault of a freshmen basketball player by two of his teammates "horrendous."
But it would ultimately come down to the wording of Tennessee's reporting law.
"It appears to me that the statutes in question possibly are not properly worded and maybe doesn't come across as the legislature intended," Poole said.
"Judge Poole applied the law, he read the law, understood it and if there are issues with the law, it's in the hands of the legislature to fix," Bowe said.
Montgomery declined to speak with Channel 3 after the ruling but his attorney did say it's unclear what his client plans to do next, saying a lot of healing is needed to move forward.
The district attorney couldn't comment on the case but did say he plans on having the attorney general review the ruling before deciding on an appeal.
The DA has 30 days to file that appeal.
PREVIOUS STORY: The state's attorney general's office will take a look at the case against one of Ooltewah's former basketball coaches.
Andre Montgomery is the only coach who still faces charges in connection to the assault of a player.
Montgomery appeared in court this morning with his attorney asking for the charges to be dropped.
Curtis Bowe spent the morning dissecting Tennessee's mandatory reporting law in front of Judge Don Poole.
Bowe said the statute doesn't address child on child abuse, a time frame of when the abuse should be reported and who the reports should be made to.
Bowe says the current statute is too vague.
"None of those apply here. These three perpetrators were children, they weren't any of the relationship criteria where DCS says you have to have in support of the charging statute," Bowe argued.
Bowe also pointed to jurisdiction, arguing the Hamilton County district attorney had no ground to stand on when charging Montgomery because the investigating agency was in Sevier County.
District Attorney Neal Pinkston fired back saying Montgomery did have a responsibility to report.
"In that instance, under the venue rule, rules of reporting procedure, the act can occur in one of more counties and under that you can file in either one," Pinkston said.
Pinkston suggested the state attorney general look at the case based on Bowe's argument the statute isn't constitutional and the judge agreed.
The judge will make his decisions on those motions in October.
Judge Don Poole said he will review the arguments presented in his courtroom and moved the case to October 18.
Case set for another date. Judge says he will review arguments. @WRCB
Former Ooltewah High School basketball coach Andre "Tank" Montgomery was in court Wednesday for a judge to hear a motion to drop charges of non-reporting of sexual abuse following the Ooltewah High School rape case.
Attorney points out other district leaders (Rick Smith) testified in February that they didn't report abuse but they weren't charged. @WRCB