Louisa school board member faces no questions over testimony
At this week’s school board meeting, Allen Jennings answered every question he was asked about his recent court testimony in defense of a convicted child molester.
Despite parents and residents calling for his resignation and circulating a petition for Jennings’s removal, not one parent or resident asked the school board member a single question about his much-discussed court testimony.
Earlier this month at a Feb. 5 sentencing hearing, Jennings had testified as a character witness for convicted child molester Leslie Rayford Johnson Jr. Last year, Johnson pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 10-year-old student at Jouett Elementary.
During the sentencing hearing, Jennings testified that he would have no problem allowing the convicted child molester back on school property.
Louisa County’s Commonwealth’s Attorney Rusty McGuire asked Jennings, “And you have no problem with him coming back to the schools?” Jennings responded, “No.”
McGuire asked again, “No problem?”
Jennings asked for clarification, “With him coming back to school?” before again answering, “I don’t have a problem with that, you know.”
Following that testimony, residents of Louisa County called for Jennings’s resignation and circulated a petition to remove him from the board. Parents took to social media and demanded that Jennings explain his testimony.
Jennings did not attend the school board meeting the evening of his court testimony, saying that there had been a miscommunication in scheduling.
In the Feb. 7 edition of The Central Virginian, Jennings said that he “misspoke” in defense of Johnson’s character and that he would not want the child molester back on school property. In an interview with the paper, Jennings said that the questioning had become “complicated” and he had responded the opposite of what he had meant.
The following week, in The Central Virginian, Jennings wrote a letter to the public, explaining “I did not want this person back on school property, but it was not perceived that way.”
The Tuesday, Feb. 19 school board meeting was his first meeting following his testimony.
When the public forum of the meeting was opened for questions from parents and other residents, the meeting room was silent. No one had shown up to address Jennings’s testimony. The board moved on to other matters.