Leonard Church, 66, remained silent for most of the two and a half hour meeting Wednesday, speaking up only once to decline comment at the session’s close.
Unlike during previous meetings, a makeshift wall composed of 21 chairs sealed the council off from the public.
A Kennesaw police officer said the barricade was a “preventive” measure that had nothing to do with Church’s presence.
The remaining four council members addressed issues from proposed parking improvements at Swift-Cantrell Park to a new youth leadership program, declining to comment on their fellow councilman’s legal troubles.
“We’re just handling our business,” said Councilwoman Debra Williams.
Councilman Tim Killingsworth said he did not know of any special reason why Church had attended the evening’s work session.
Several residents who said they turned out for the city’s closure of Lewis Street would not comment on the councilman’s case.
Church himself declined to answer questions after Mayor Mark Mathews drew the meeting to a close, responding to inquiries with: “No, thank you.”
Mathews also avoided questions about the councilman’s status.
“I’m happy to answer any questions related to any of the agenda items discussed at tonight’s meeting,” Mathews said.
In last year’s election, Church unseated then-Councilman Bruce Jenkins.
Jenkins described the feelings among Kennesaw residents since the charges were brought against Church as “extremely hurt.”
“They hurt for the child. I think they’re hurt for the fact that another sad occurrence has occurred in the city when we’re doing so many positive things — so many wonderful things are happening in our city — that this occurred in our leadership,” he said.
“We continue to await District Attorney Reynolds’ investigation outcome and support the results from that investigation, and we pray for the young child that he is being cared for, and that everything is proceeding with his care and wellbeing, and all we can do at this point is await on the end result of that investigation.”
Jenkins said the city’s charter states that in order for a council member to be removed from office, he or she must either be convicted of a felony or miss four called meetings of the mayor or mayor pro tem.
He said it is a crime against all of humanity when children are hurt.
“There is nothing stronger in our hearts and minds than our children, nothing, and nothing stings closer to any community than when their child is in jeopardy or in harm’s way,” Jenkins said.
“Nothing comes closer to that, so we’re at this point awaiting the outcome of Mr. Reynolds’ investigation, and we pray for the child, we also pray for Councilman Church that his actions are not found in this warrant, but if they are, then (Reynolds) needs to take aggressive steps to protect the city. We’ve had to just wait. When that broke on Friday — I think it was a Friday — no one saw this in any way shape or form coming. This has just left a lot of people stunned. Stunned and sad.”
Police arrested Church at 2:50 a.m. June 27. According to the sheriff’s records, he was released from the county jail on a $10,000 bond, paid for through A 24 Hour Bonding in Marietta, the morning of June 28.
A bond condition order obtained from magistrate court indicates Church cannot drink alcohol, change his address without notifying the court or “linger in any location at which children under the age of 16 are present.”
The order, dated June 27, says Church is required to submit to random drug and alcohol tests and is under supervision of the county’s pretrial release agency.
Kim Isaza, spokeswoman for the DA’s office, said prosecutors had not yet received Church’s case from investigators. She said it can take as long as 30 to 45 days for a case to reach her office.
Once prosecutors are given a felony case, they will prepare it to go before a grand jury, who would need to return indictments in order for the case to proceed to trial.
The district attorney’s office can wait up to two years to indict a case.