The attorney representing a former college professor accused of sexual crimes against at least three young girls withdrew from the case on Friday citing ethical reasons.
Marcus Morris wouldn’t go into detail about why he will no longer represent Monte Gale Salyer, but Whitfield County Superior Court Judge Cindy Morris said after a conference between Morris and Assistant District Attorney Ben Kenemer that Morris was withdrawing “due to an ethical conflict” related to rules 3.3 and 1.16 of the state Rules of Professional Conduct.
Rule 3.3 deals with knowingly presenting false information, and rule 1.16 outlines a broad range of circumstances under which an attorney may stop representing someone.
“There were some pretrial issues which could not be resolved, which resulted in my motion to withdraw,” Morris said.
Salyer was scheduled to go to trial on Monday, but that was postponed until Feb. 11. He must also appear on Jan. 15 to announce his new representation, if any. Salyer declined comment on Friday, saying he couldn’t speak while the case is ongoing.
The Rocky Face resident resigned from teaching English as a second language at Dalton State College after his arrest in February of last year. He faces two counts of rape, one count of statutory rape, three counts of child molestation, five counts of aggravated child molestation and one count of criminal attempt to commit a felony. He is accused of molesting an 8-year-old relative and two other children he befriended at church over a period of several years.
On Dec. 18, Salyer asked for trial, rejecting a deal in which he would have pleaded to several lesser offenses, resulting in a sentence of 20 years in prison followed by 10 years on probation. Several of the charges he now faces could result in up to life in prison without parole.
Records filed with the Clerk of Court show Morris filed a motion to withdraw as the counsel of record on Dec. 28 and that the district attorney’s office filed an objection. District Attorney Bert Poston said on Friday that because of the nature of the matter he was unable to comment on why the state objected.