After a bizarre series of events that led to his arrest for assault on a student, Williamson County Schools Superintendent Mike Looney has retained attorney Mark Puryear of the Franklin, Tennessee law firm Puryear, Newman and Morton to defend him against the simple assault charge he faces for allegedly accosting a student and forcing her into his personal vehicle – a Class A Misdemeanor.
Originally, Looney was booked and released after posting a $1,500 bond, and instructed by the court to return March 8 at 1pm to begin his trail. That date has now been rescheduled for March 27, the Williamson Herald reports.
After news of the incident became known, Looney issued a statement denying the charge, stating, in part:
I apologize to the community for the distraction that this accusation has caused. I completely deny the allegations and have faith that the legal process will result in a positive resolution.
Looney’s arrest has sparked concern with area parents, who have called for his ouster. However, after a carefully choreographed public meeting recently, the Williamson County School Board affirmed their support of the embattled superintendent, reading detailed a joint statement to the packed room of citizens, which said, in part:
Based on the information we have been provided, it appears that Dr. Looney did not act inappropriately and was within the discretion of an administrator in an effort to defuse a difficult situation, in the interest of student safety, and we believe that his continuing in his work will not interfere with any investigation. Based on all the information available to the Board at this time and in honoring our HR Department’s process, we cannot at this time justify asking Dr. Looney to take a leave of absence pending this criminal charge. We believe that has continued presence as Superintendent at this time is in the best interest of WCS students. We fully recognize that the public has not had access to all the information available to the Board and might come to a different conclusion based on what they have heard, but we must base our decisions on the information available to us at the time decisions are made. Based on information available to us, we continue to place our confidence in Dr. Looney’s leadership in our School District. We look forward to the legal process continuing.