S.C. Principal Charged With Hindering Police in Cheerleader Drinking Case

Published January 23, 2007

| Associated Press

A high school principal was charged Monday with hindering the police investigation of the cheerleading coach, who had been accused of providing students with beer, authorities said.

Jane Blackwell tried to thwart the investigation of Ware Shoals High School cheerleading coach Jill Moore, who was arrested last week and resigned soon after, Chief Deputy Mike Frederick said.

After investigators told Blackwell and others they planned to talk to each cheerleader, the principal called a squad meeting and told them not to discuss the case with anyone, Frederick said.

"It became quite clear to investigators who was attempting to keep this thing quiet," he said.

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Blackwell asked investigators if they knew whether any calls were made from the school to the media and disciplined at least one student who mentioned the Moore case at school, according to a sworn statement filed with an arrest warrant.

Blackwell, 59, was arrested Monday and charged with obstruction of justice. She was released from jail Monday evening on her own recognizance, Frederick said.

Deputies believe Blackwell knew the coach was giving alcohol to students but did not report the information to authorities, Frederick said.

A telephone listing at her address was busy, and a district spokeswoman didn't immediately return a message. It was unclear whether she had hired an attorney.

A message left with a lawyer whom the sheriff's office believed was representing Moore was not returned.

Ware Shoals is about 80 miles northwest of Columbia.

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