Trial set in NE High sex assault case

A former North­east High School staff mem­ber ac­cused of hav­ing sex with a 17-year-old stu­dent has been sched­uled for a tri­al by jury start­ing on Dec. 16.

Mark Pre­ston Wil­li­ams, 57, re­mains free on $50,000 bail pending his Com­mon Pleas Court tri­al on charges of un­law­ful con­tact with a minor, in­sti­tu­tion­al sexu­al as­sault of a stu­dent, en­dan­ger­ing the wel­fare of a child and cor­rupt­ing a minor.

Wil­li­ams sur­rendered to au­thor­it­ies on March 12 weeks after Phil­adelphia po­lice first in­formed the School Dis­trict of Phil­adelphia of al­leg­a­tions against Wil­li­ams. Ac­cord­ing to a source fa­mil­i­ar with the case, Wil­li­ams al­legedly as­saul­ted the girl at his West Chester-area home. The vic­tim’s par­ent learned of the al­leged sexu­al activ­ity and re­por­ted it to Phil­adelphia po­lice.

Court doc­u­ments state that Wil­li­ams com­mit­ted the of­fenses on Jan. 13.

A school dis­trict spokes­man, Fernando Gal­lard, pre­vi­ously con­firmed that the al­leged as­sault did not oc­cur on school grounds. Wil­li­ams was em­ployed in the dean’s of­fice at North­east at the time. Upon learn­ing of the al­leg­a­tions, the dis­trict trans­ferred Wil­li­ams out of North­east High and in­to a non-school set­ting. The Times was un­able to reach Gal­lard for fur­ther com­ment on Wil­li­ams’ status with the dis­trict.

Wil­li­ams has not been charged with as­sault­ing oth­er stu­dents.

Dur­ing an April 29 pre­lim­in­ary hear­ing, a Mu­ni­cip­al Court judge dis­missed a charge of in­ter­fer­ence with the cus­tody of a child, but ordered Wil­li­ams to be tried on the oth­er four charges. ••

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