FBI: More victims have come forward with molestation claims
There was standing room only in the courtroom as family members, former students and officials from the Gulfport School District and the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi packed inside. (Photo source: WLOX)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -
More victims have come forward accusing a veteran South Mississippi teacher of molesting them while students at Bayou View Middle School.FBI agents now believe William Richard Pryor molested 11 male students between the ages of 12 and 14.
Tuesday, Pryor was in court for nearly two hours as testimony reveled shocking, new details of the alleged sexual crimes.
An FBI agent was called to the stand and told the judge three more former students have come forward claiming Pryor molested them since the FBI arrested Pryor last week. The students were all between the ages of 12 and 14 when the alleged molestation happened.
The agent also said Pryor told officials they will find child pornography on his computer. Right now, Pryor's computer is in the FBI crime lab being searched.
The FBI agent also described Pryor's demeanor when they showed up that first day to interview him. He testified that when the agents got Pryor out of class to interview him, the first thing the agent said was, "Do you know why we are here?" Pryor said to him, "I probably know why you are here."
Pryor began teaching in the Gulfport School District in 1968. He would take students on trips during summer and winter vacations. And those trips would include about 30 students at a time.
FBI agents obtained Pryor's teaching file from Gulfport School District and found nothing negative. In fact, there were a few positive notes from parents in the file.
Right now no cases are students from St. John or St. Patrick High School, where Pryor was last teaching.
There was standing room only in the courtroom as family members, former students and officials from the Gulfport School District and the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi packed inside.
Among the crowd was Catholic Diocese of Biloxi Superintendent Dr. Michael Ladner. He said the allegations revealed by investigators and Pryor himself have been "disheartening."
"I had mixed emotions throughout the whole ordeal, but it was very gut wrenching because you just wonder how this many years this could go by unnoticed, unseen," Ladner told WLOX News after the hearing. "And your heart just goes out to the victims and all the things they went through their whole life. It's very, very difficult listening to their testimony on this pre-trial hearing."
Pryor's sister, who is also a retired Gulfport teacher, asked the judge to release her brother from jail and allow him to stay with her. But the judge told the packed courtroom there is no way to assure the safety of the community if Pryor is let out on bond.
Pryor was escorted out of the federal courtroom in handcuffs and shackles after a judge ruled he will be held in jail without bond.
Pryor is currently charged with transportation of minors with the intent to engage in criminal sexual conduct. If convicted, he could spend 10 years to life in prison.