Hinkle trial delayed

CLINTON — A motion of continuance was filed Aug. 29 and approved Aug. 30 in the Ramsey Hinkle trial.

A pre-trial conference was scheduled to take place Thursday, and the trial was to begin Sept. 24. However, the motion for continuance pushes proceedings to 2019.

The pretrial conference has been rescheduled for 10 a.m. Jan. 3, 2019, with the trial set for 9 a.m. Jan. 14, 2019.

According to the affidavit, the continuance was approved by both parties and is to “facilitate discovery and appeal negotiations.”

Clinton County Clerk of Court Kim Hess said this usually means prosecution is still gathering evidence. Hinkle previously waived her right to a speedy trial and is not incarcerated. She posted $5,000 bond Feb. 2.

This is the third motion for continuance filed in the case. The initial pretrial conference was pushed back twice before occurring on May 17. At that time the final pre-trial conference and trial dates were established.

Hinkle, a former speech and English teacher, is facing one count of sexual exploitation by a school employee and pleaded not guilty Feb. 21. The charge carries a maximum punishment of up to five years in prison and a $7,500 fine. She was placed on leave by the district in the fall of 2016. She was paid — per state law — until she resigned in March 2017.

The charges stem from an internal investigation conducted by the Central DeWitt Community School District regarding Ramsey’s alleged behavior with a 17-year-old then-student. The investigation in 2016 discovered detailed communication between the two on social media and school-owned systems. The communication detailed their sexual encounters, according to the affidavit. Information was then passed on to the DeWitt Police Department, which turned the matter over to the Clinton County Attorney’s Office.

Nick Joos is the DeWitt Observer's news editor.