Update: Judge denies motion for a new trial for Bill George on child molestation conviction

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Bill George. Photo courtesy of Walton County Sheriff’s Office

Update

Alcovy Circuit Superior Court Judge Eugene M. Benton has denied the motion for a new trial for convicted child molester Bill George, according to his attorney, Eric Crawford of Crawford and Boyle. Crawford said the ruling was not unexpected and it is unlikely that he would be asking for the motion to be reconsidered and expects instead to file a notice of appeal with the clerk of the court next week. He said he doesn’t expect to get a ruling on that until next spring.

“While we’re obviously disappointed in the trial court’s ruling, this was to some extent expected as we were asking the judge to find that he messed up in admitting evidence. Judges rarely do so at a motion for a new trial, such that less than 5% of motions for new trial are granted,” Crawford said. “The legal errors by the trial court and the prosecution are clear, so we’re filing appeals paperwork to seek review by the Georgia Court of Appeals in Atlanta.”

Crawford said it is usually more effective to get a fresh set of eyes on the case through the three appellate judges that will review it.

In his denial of the motion, Benton noted the three allegations by George’s defense that gave grounds for a motion for a new trial. These being that “the verdict is contrary to the evidence presented, that the verdict is contrary to the principles of justice and equity and that the verdict is decidedly and strongly against the weight of the evidence.” In the summary of his dential, Benton note that he found that the evidence was “legally sufficient to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” and that “there was competent evidence to support each fact necessary to make out the State’s case, leading to the jury’s verdict being upheld.”

He, therefore, denied the motion for a new trial for George, handing down his ruling on Friday, July 19, 2019,

Update

Although William “Bill” George, the former Walton County educator who is serving time for child molestation and sexual battery, did not appear in court Wednesday, Alcovy Circuit Superior Court Judge Eugene M. Benton will decide on whether or not to grant him a new trial.

According to Eric Crawford, George’s attorney, briefs were filed by the parties involved and Benton will issue an order on the motion at some time in the future. George was on the calendar for a hearing Wednesday, but Crawford said the briefs were filed with the judge instead and George did not appear.

Initial Story

The attorneys for Harold William ‘Bill’ George have filed a motion for a new trial for their client. It is scheduled to be heard June 19, 2019, by Alcovy Circuit Superior Court Judge Eugene M. Benton.

George was convicted on June 14, 2018, on 10 counts related to child molestation, sexual battery and enticing a child for indecent purposes. He was sentenced the following week to serve 20 years in jail with a total of 10 years probation. In addition, George is banned from the Alcovy district while he is on probation and he cannot work in any capacity where there are children under the age of 18 years.

The motion for a new trial was filed by Eric Crawford of Crawford and Boyle LLC back in March 2019. Crawford said the motion is based on the contention that the prosecution violated the Rape Shield law and erred in denying the pre-trial motions.

According to Crawford’s brief, the court should have granted George’s motion for a mistrial due to the prosecution’s misconduct by violating Georgia’s Rape Shield Statute. In addition, the brief contends that the court erred in not granting the pre-trial motion to suppress evidence that Crawford claims was obtained through illegal methods.

George was initially arrested on Sept. 18, 2015 on charges of alleged sexual molestation and again on June 16 of 2016 following a grand jury indictment. He was released on $20,000 bond in each case.

At the time of his arrest in 2015, George was no longer employed with Walton County Public Schools. But prior to that, he had held key administrative positions at several schools over the years. He was the youth director of Orchard Church in Loganville at the time of his arrest, but he immediately resigned from his position with the church following his arrest.

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