Charleston County School District employee caught with child pornography, authorities say (copy) (copy) (copy)

Marvin Gethers following his arrest in 2016. File/Provided/Cannon Detention Center

A seventh boy has come forward with accusations of sexual misconduct against Marvin Gethers, a former North Charleston elementary school employee who died before his criminal case could go to trial. 

The father of the latest accuser told North Charleston police in February that in 2013 and 2014, Gethers touched his then-8-year-old son inappropriately at Dunston Elementary School, according to an incident report.

Gethers worked as a student concern specialist and was promoted to the role of parent advocate in the fall of 2014. 

The father told police that his son disclosed the alleged abuse after seeing a TV news report about Gethers in January. 

Late last summer, the case drew scrutiny from the community over how the Charleston County School District and police handled the investigation into Gethers, who had maintained a reputation as a trusted mentor to struggling students. 

Charleston County School District employees found evidence of child pornography on Gethers' district-issued laptop computer in January 2014. The district allowed him to stay on the job while a police investigation into the pornography lingered, and officials even promoted him to a higher-paying position.

Two years later, Gethers lost his job when police arrested him on a child pornography charge in January 2016. 

Two children spoke to police shortly after Gethers' arrest, leading to additional charges of third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor. At least five additional children have since spoken with police or attorneys to make accusations against Gethers, and several lawsuits have been filed against the school district.

The boys have said that Gethers would pull them from class or corner them in the hallways and then coax them into his office or the bathroom. They said he would touch them inappropriately and take nude photos of them.

Gethers died of heart failure on June 13, 2017, with his criminal charges pending.

In April 2018, the school district settled with one of Gethers' accusers for $300,000.

The family of a child identified as John Doe sued the school district, the city of North Charleston and the Charleston County Sheriff's Office in January, claiming the district could have done more to protect the children.

Attorneys and state lawmakers have raised several questions about the handling of Gethers' case that have not yet been answered, including:

  • Who knew about the allegations of child pornography on Gethers' laptop when he returned to school shortly after suspicions arose in 2014?
  • Why did the school district take more than a month to turn Gethers' laptop over to North Charleston police?
  • And why, once police transferred the laptop to a Charleston County Sheriff's Office, did an investigator take 22 months to complete a forensic analysis of the computer?

The father of the child who filed the latest incident report said in a phone interview with The Post and Courier on Thursday that he wants all those questions answered, too.

"I’ve been the bearer of sins that other people created, and I’ve had enough," the father said.

The Post and Courier does not typically identify victims of alleged sexual crimes or their family members.

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Reach Paul Bowers at 843-937-5546. Follow him on Twitter @paul_bowers.

Paul Bowers is an education reporter and father of three living in North Charleston. He previously worked at the Charleston City Paper, where he was twice named South Carolina Journalist of the Year in the weekly category.

Angie Jackson covers crime and breaking news for The Post and Courier. She previously covered the same beat for the Grand Rapids Press and MLive.com in Michigan. When she’s not reporting, Angie enjoys teaching yoga and exploring the outdoors.