CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

January 27, 2012

Good Hope teacher accused of sex abuse pleads not guilty

By Trent Moore
The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — A first grade teacher from Good Hope Primary School accused of three counts of sexual abuse pleaded not guilty on all counts Thursday in Cullman County Circuit Court.

Welti resident Chad Gambrill, 36, was indicted on two counts of sexual abuse in the first degree, and one charge of sexual abuse in the second degree, earlier this month.

The case stems from incidents that allegedly occurred more than 10 years ago with two young girls, and are not related to his position at the school.

Gambrill’s arraignment was held Thursday afternoon, and after spending a few moments before Judge Don Hardeman, his attorney entered a plea of not guilty. When reached afterward, Gambrill’s defense attorney Champ Crocker declined to comment.

The case is scheduled to be included on the Feb.13 trial docket, though it could be delayed at request, or due to an abundance of cases.

After Gambrill was arrested, the Cullman County Board of Education placed him on indefinite paid administrative leave, where he is expected to remain until the case is resolved. He has been an employee at Good Hope schools since 2000, and has taught first grade for the past six years.

Authorities affirm the current charges are not related to Gambrill’s position as a teacher, but stem from an investigation into allegations dating from approximately 11 years ago. The arrest was the culmination of a five-month investigation, claiming Gambrill sexually abused two girls under the age of 12. Authorities say he was familiar with the alleged victims at the time.

Gambrill’s personnel record is clean according to school officials, and he has never had any complaints filed against him.

Before starting work at the primary school, Gambrill served in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Iraq for some time. In 2008 he sued the school system, claiming he was discriminated against after being passed over for a promotion. A judge eventually ruled against Gambrill and in favor of the school system. That decision was later affirmed following an appeal in 2010.

Gambrill was released on a $90,000 bond shortly after his arrest and remains free.



* Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at trentm@cullmantimes.com, or by telephone at 734-2131.