A former educator in Baldwin, Mobile, Clarke and Washington counties has been indicted by a Grand Jury on a charge of transmitting obscene material to a child. He was also charged with electronic solicitation of a child at the time of his arrest.
Washington County Sheriff’s deputies arrested William “Billy” Gardner in April. Investigators said his victim was a 15-year-old girl who he once had as a student at Leroy High School.
“Anytime an adult takes advantage of a child, that’s troublesome to say the least, much less when that adult is in a position of authority over a child,” said Detective Blake Richardson with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
While this is the only case against Gardner moving forward right now, Richardson still have concerns there may have been other victims over his 20-year tenure as an educator in south Alabama.
“I definitely think that is the case,” said Richardson. “Like a lot of child sexual abuse cases, a lot of victims are reluctant to come forward for a variety of reasons, so of course that’s always a challenge.”
Investigators said their focus right now is getting closure for this victim and her family. The next step will be a court appearance Tuesday, September 21, 2021 on the Washington County District Court arraignment and settlement docket.
“If the case is settled there, he would move on from there, possibly into the prison system. If it’s not settled there, he’d be set for the next trial docket and that would be the final step from there,” Richardson explained.
If the case goes to trial, it will be scheduled for October. Investigators are still asking that any other potential victims come forward.