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franklin county times

Chatham trial slated to begin today

By By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
Dec. 4, 2000
The sexual battery trial of a Meridian school teacher is scheduled to begin today in Lauderdale County Circuit Court.
A grand jury returned indictments in July against 27-year-old Rodney Laron Chatham, a sixth- and seventh-grade teacher at Carver Middle School, accusing him of the February sexual battery of a then 3-year-old boy.
The sexual battery indictment alleges Chatham was in a "position of trust" over the victim.
The grand jury also returned a second, two-count indictment against Chatham for the alleged 1989 lustful touching of a then 8-year-old boy and the alleged 1996 lustful touching of a then 9-year-old boy.
Carver Middle School Principal Robert Markham said Chatham has been suspended from his teaching position, and district officials will not contemplate allowing him to return to the classroom until the criminal proceedings against him have been concluded.
In other court action, a Meridian man accused of the December 1999 kidnapping and statutory rape of a then 15-year-old girl is also scheduled for trial today in Lauderdale County Circuit Court.
A grand jury returned the indictments against 42-year-old Leon McCoy in March.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at mtodd@themeridianstar.com.

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