Three City of Hernando Parks and Recreation employees have been cleared of any wrongdoing following an internal probe into a situation involving a contract individual who formerly worked in conjunction with the city's parks and recreation youth league activities.
Hernando Parks and Recreation Director Dewayne Williams, Athletic Director Daniel Carson and employee Chris Couch were all cleared of any wrongdoing in the internal probe brought about when a contract employee under oversight of the department allegedly became involved with minors.
The contract employee, James Michael Richardson, was arrested on Aug. 9 and charged with enticement of a child to meet for sexual purposes and contempt of court. Richardson has not been employed in any capacity with the city since October of 2017.
It should be noted that individuals are presumed innocent until they are found either innocent or guilty in a court of law.
As a precautionary measure, city officials decided to place Williams, Carson and Couch on paid leave until the city could conduct its probe into the matter.
"The investigations have been completed and no offenses were found to have been committed by any of the employees under administrative suspension," Hernando City Attorney Kenneth Stockton said in an email released to city officials and the media. "The suspensions with pay were done as a precautionary measure to allow time for the matter to be reviewed in detail."
"All three, Williams, Carson and Couch, have been reinstated and there was no wrongdoing found," Hernando Mayor Tom Ferguson said earlier Friday.
Robert Lee Long is Community Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.