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Hearing for city's recreation director and wife, also city employee, over alleged child neglect continued until December.

Hearing for city's recreation director and wife, also city employee, over alleged child neglect continued until December.

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A hearing has been continued that deals with allegations that the city's recreation director and his wife neglected a 5-year-old girl. 

William Lenard Royston, 48, and his wife, Saroya Rachelle Roberts, 34, of Old Hollow Road have both been charged with misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile. Roberts also works for the city. 

They were scheduled to appear in Forsyth District Court on Monday, but the hearing has now been continued until Dec. 8. 

The citations against Royston and Roberts stem from an incident on Feb. 29. The citations allege that Royston and Roberts neglected a 5-year-old girl by leaving her in their 2019 Hyundai Station Wagon in the parking lot of Sam's Club off University Parkway for more than 20 minutes at night "without an adult present or able to be summoned in the case of emergency."

The girl is Roberts' daughter from a previous marriage, according to divorce papers. 

The citations don't provide any other details about the circumstances that led Winston-Salem police to be called to Sam's Club. They also don't provide any information about why Roberts and Royston were not in the car with the child. 

Attorney Dylan Greenwood, who represents the couple, has said both are innocent until proven guilty and that "we intend to hold the state of North Carolina to that burden."

"They are loving spouses and parents, and both are dedicated city employees," Greenwood said. "We stand beside them completely."

Royston remains on his job as director of recreation and parks. City personnel records show his salary is $103,978.02, and that he got his last pay increase on April 9, 2019.

Royston was on medical leave recently and returned to work in late August.

Roberts was suspended on May 6 from her job as a human resource analyst with the city. City Attorney Angela Carmon said she could not legally provide any details on how long the suspension lasted or the reason for it.

Roberts' position was reclassified on May 29 this year to that of special project coordinator in the city's business advancement and inclusion department. On Aug. 20, she received a lateral transfer to become human resource analyst in the city's sanitation department.

Royston started work for the city in 2005 after working in Durham parks and recreation for seven years. He received a suspension on May 19, 2008, but returned to work thereafter. At the time of his suspension, he was parks superintendent. Over the years, Royston held various positions here, including project planner.

Royston became director of recreation and parks here on Oct. 21, 2016, after serving as interim director after the retirement of Tim Grant in the summer of 2016.

Roberts has been employed with the city since Oct. 13, 2014.

336-727-7326

@mhewlettWSJ

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