WOODSTOCK — The former executive director of a local childcare facility charged in response to child abuse allegations had her trial rescheduled because of a lack of availability of a key witness for the prosecution.
Jamie Jill Pence, 42, of Edinburg, was the executive director of Pollywog Place, 1080 Hisey Ave., Woodstock, when she was charged with one count of cruelty to children and one count of failure to report abuse.
The charges came from a Shenandoah County Circuit Court grand jury after police investigated allegations of verbal and physical abuse by a teacher at the nursery and preschool in November 2019.
Pence’s trial was rescheduled by Judge Dennis Hupp for Sept. 13-16, with a pretrial conference set for Aug. 4 at 12:45 p.m.
Katie Ledane, 21, of Edinburg, who was also working at the facility, is charged with two counts of assault and battery and four counts of child cruelty/injury in the incident. She is represented by attorney Ryan Nuzzo and due in court on June 2 for a scheduling hearing.
Pence has been released from custody on $2,000 bond, and LeDane was also released on $1,500 bond.
Pence is no longer affiliated with the childcare facility, Karl Roulston told The Northern Virginia Daily on Thursday. Pollywog Place is a state-licensed nursery and preschool that is half-owned by the Regulus Group LLC, and Roulston, who is also a member of the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors, is the founder and managing partner of Regulus Group.
Ledane stopped working at the facility after the allegations, Roulston previously told The Daily.
Roulston declined to comment further Thursday because of the ongoing court proceedings.
Pence’s trial was originally scheduled for late July, but Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Layton requested the continuance because Virginia State Police Special Agent Heather Marshall would be out of the country on those dates.
Marshal was a primary, lead investigator, Layton explained to the court and could speak about witnesses and evidence, why it was seized and handled a certain way. State Police investigated the matter because of perceived conflicts of interest with local law enforcement, Layton explained.
Pence’s attorney, William B. Allen III, argued his client’s rights to a speedy trial in objecting to the continuance. Pence did not waive those rights, Allen said while accepting the new court date.
The case was previously set for trial in July 2020 but it was continued because of the state’s judicial emergency orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Allen wrote in an objection to the commonwealth’s motion.
Pence is also represented by attorney Todd Gilbert.