Wilson County Schools

A second sexual harassment claim has been made against Wilson County School board member Wayne McNeese.

The complaint was written by a former WCS employee on June 15. The allegations are similar to another complaint which was sent to then-WCS Ethics Committee Chairman Chad Karl on May 28.

In the first complaint, McNeese is accused of requesting a kiss from a WCS staff member. McNeese said last week that the accusation is politically motivated because he is running for re-election this year.

In the second complaint, the employee claims McNeese requested that she place him in the same hotel room as her when arranging lodging at an educational conference.

McNeese denied the allegations in the first complaint and has deferred comments to his attorney since then. He said on June 18 that he had not seen the second complaint.

The Wilson Post’s policy is not to publish the name of a possible victim in a sexual harassment claim.

At a special called meeting on Monday, the WCS board unanimously approved hiring Memphis law firm Jackson, Shields, Yeiser and Holt to act as counsel during the ethics committee meeting. That meeting was announced as being set for Thursday, June 25 until McNeese said he and his attorney were unable to attend on that date.

McNeese asked why he did not receive a notice about that meeting, but ethics committee chair Linda Armistead said that no notice had been sent about that meeting.

The Wilson Post received an email marked “Public Notice” announcing the June 25 meeting about nine hours before Monday night’s meeting with a request to “Please do not make this meeting notice public until after the 6pm meeting tonight.”

The ethics committee meeting was then rescheduled for Monday, June 29. McNeese asked if that meeting could be held in a closed executive session because of the possibility that he might consider filing a civil lawsuit.

Because the first complaint included Karl as a potential witness, a new ethics committee was appointed and approved on June 17. Armistead was elected chairman of the committee and Bill Robinson was named secretary. Kimberly McGee is also on the committee.

Robinson said the law firm will charge WCS $195 per hour during the duration of the complaint process.

Board attorney Mike Jennings is mentioned in the second complaint. However, there are no allegations about any ethics violations by Jennings. He has recused himself because he may be called as a witness, leading to the hiring of the outside law firm.

Board policy 1.106 says that in the case of an official, the matter may be referred to the school board for “possible public censure if the board body finds such action warranted.”

The full board can, if it believes the complaints constitute a possible violation of state statutes, refer the matter to the district attorney for possible ouster or criminal prosecution.

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