Kennesaw builds wall around Church
by Sarah Westwood
July 17, 2014 04:00 AM | 5037 views | 7 7 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kennesaw City Councilman Leonard Church cuts an evil eye at the camera at Wednesday night’s city council work  session. Church has been charged with child molestation and this is the first meeting he has attended since the alleged incident. <br> Staff/Jeff Stanton
Kennesaw City Councilman Leonard Church cuts an evil eye at the camera at Wednesday night’s city council work session. Church has been charged with child molestation and this is the first meeting he has attended since the alleged incident.
Staff/Jeff Stanton
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The front row at the meeting, normally set aside for visitors in attendance, was blocked off during the planning meeting.
The front row at the meeting, normally set aside for visitors in attendance, was blocked off during the planning meeting.
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KENNESAW — The council member and former mayor accused of molesting a nine-year-old boy last month attended his first work session at City Hall since his arrest.

Leonard Church, 66, remained silent for most of the two and a half hour meeting Wednesday, speaking up only once to decline comment at the session’s close.

Unlike during previous meetings, a makeshift wall composed of 21 chairs sealed the council off from the public.

A Kennesaw police officer said the barricade was a “preventive” measure that had nothing to do with Church’s presence.

The remaining four council members addressed issues from proposed parking improvements at Swift-Cantrell Park to a new youth leadership program, declining to comment on their fellow councilman’s legal troubles.

“We’re just handling our business,” said Councilwoman Debra Williams.

Councilman Tim Killingsworth said he did not know of any special reason why Church had attended the evening’s work session.

Several residents who said they turned out for the city’s closure of Lewis Street would not comment on the councilman’s case.

Church himself declined to answer questions after Mayor Mark Mathews drew the meeting to a close, responding to inquiries with: “No, thank you.”

Mathews also avoided questions about the councilman’s status.

“I’m happy to answer any questions related to any of the agenda items discussed at tonight’s meeting,” Mathews said.

In last year’s election, Church unseated then-Councilman Bruce Jenkins.

Jenkins described the feelings among Kennesaw residents since the charges were brought against Church as “extremely hurt.”

“They hurt for the child. I think they’re hurt for the fact that another sad occurrence has occurred in the city when we’re doing so many positive things — so many wonderful things are happening in our city — that this occurred in our leadership,” he said.

“We continue to await District Attorney Reynolds’ investigation outcome and support the results from that investigation, and we pray for the young child that he is being cared for, and that everything is proceeding with his care and wellbeing, and all we can do at this point is await on the end result of that investigation.”

Jenkins said the city’s charter states that in order for a council member to be removed from office, he or she must either be convicted of a felony or miss four called meetings of the mayor or mayor pro tem.

He said it is a crime against all of humanity when children are hurt.

“There is nothing stronger in our hearts and minds than our children, nothing, and nothing stings closer to any community than when their child is in jeopardy or in harm’s way,” Jenkins said.

“Nothing comes closer to that, so we’re at this point awaiting the outcome of Mr. Reynolds’ investigation, and we pray for the child, we also pray for Councilman Church that his actions are not found in this warrant, but if they are, then (Reynolds) needs to take aggressive steps to protect the city. We’ve had to just wait. When that broke on Friday — I think it was a Friday — no one saw this in any way shape or form coming. This has just left a lot of people stunned. Stunned and sad.”

Police arrested Church at 2:50 a.m. June 27. According to the sheriff’s records, he was released from the county jail on a $10,000 bond, paid for through A 24 Hour Bonding in Marietta, the morning of June 28.

A bond condition order obtained from magistrate court indicates Church cannot drink alcohol, change his address without notifying the court or “linger in any location at which children under the age of 16 are present.”

The order, dated June 27, says Church is required to submit to random drug and alcohol tests and is under supervision of the county’s pretrial release agency.

Kim Isaza, spokeswoman for the DA’s office, said prosecutors had not yet received Church’s case from investigators. She said it can take as long as 30 to 45 days for a case to reach her office.

Once prosecutors are given a felony case, they will prepare it to go before a grand jury, who would need to return indictments in order for the case to proceed to trial.

The district attorney’s office can wait up to two years to indict a case.

Comments
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sirwinston
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September 03, 2014
We post comments that in time will hopefully open or close issues. I have known many city officials here in Kennesaw and Acworth. I do love both cities and families I have known and those who I am getting to know. Elected officials are always in someone eyes; they walk, talk and do things carefully. America is mad at one and other for so many reasons. Here in our city we find the same things on issues and situations that often surface. We also have to get our feelings out to say and do as we feel. We all have families, relatives and friends who may serve in our cities and government. Those who are appointed by the people for the people have indeed cause a lot of us to wonder and either feel disappointed or hurt by their actions. We have also change things around; guilty until proven otherwise. That has been going on for a life time no matter what or how we say it. I want all of Kennesaw Councilmen/women to know that their appointment comes with a price...not money; but a price that we all have to pay when things go wrong and we fail to make them right. This is right and it has a lot to do with them as a team. We want the best of their services, advice, honesty and moreover the will to come forth when one or two of them do wrong and fail to make it right. We have to leave money out of some things because life is not about money, power, material things or what we have and don't have. Our Mayor, Councilmen/women hold the keys to some very important locks; however, we as citizens and voter have all of the right master-keys...we can unlock anything with those who are serving in office at will. To comment on Councilmen Church will not be the right or best thing to do; none of us really know what happen. I know it is indeed hard for Councilmen Church to serve in that position now with things being as they are. I also understand how a lot of the citizens of Kennesaw feel too. If things was changed around perhaps the flood-gate will open wide and all types of comments would hit the social-media. What we all know is, Councilmen Church has been tainted, greatly and nothing can change that but the truth from both sources. Even with that, we all know it will be the subject of coming elections and it will stick to Councilmen Church for as long as he is alive! If you or this so call "entourage" know anything about this case and remain silent; they all are just as guilty. That is by association...I don't think some are sleeping well at night either.
Ben Twomey
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July 17, 2014
While it is true that Mr. Church remains innocent until proven guilty, his actions and those of his

"good ole boy" entourage and their "Circle the wagons" attitude certainly does not help his case.
Dave Z
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July 17, 2014
Innocent until proven guilty. Let's get the story from both sides, then try to figure out the facts, my friends.

Obviously (as proven by the story's quotes), politics are involved. And in Kennesaw, politics are low down and dirty.
uh oh
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July 17, 2014
That's a lot of talking from former councilman Jenkins. Sounds like he is ramping up to run for office. I guess he can join the band of misfits as the overspending politician to join the ethically challenged mayor and the other councilman who is the husband of a shoplifting felon.... maybe they could bring back the racist councilman too.

Uh oh Responder
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July 17, 2014
I'm glad to hear from Councilman Jenkins, his honest clear leadership is missed in the City. I understand he made all expenses public and they were approved by the entire Council. Many expenses are all part of doing business in any work or city position. I welcome his return to the Council if we can encourage him to return. I hope that your sarcasm can be made in to constructive positive comments.
Bill in Kennesaw
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July 17, 2014
Time to go Mr. Church. The negative publicity of having a sitting Councilmember facing such charges is bad for the City.
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