Shannon Williams, the 37-year-old former Berkeley High School employee busted by Oakland police, plead not guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor count of soliciting prostitution.
Williams, who was the activity coordinator for the school’s independent studies program, was arrested in Oakland Aug. 13 after police said she accepted $250 from an undercover police officer.
She will appear in the Alameda County Superior Court again on Oct. 1 for a pretrial hearing.
In the meantime, Williams’ lawyer, Katya Komisaruk of the Just Cause Law Collective, told the Daily Planet she is working on a defense that will challenge the credibility of one of the arresting officers and is gathering information on the other officers present at the arrest. She has asked the community to come forward with any information they might have concerning any past inappropriate behavior on the part of the lead officer.
During her appearance Williams had support from protesters outside the courthouse who called for legalization of prostitution. Several wore leopard print negligees similar to what Williams had been wearing at the time of the arrest.
After her hearing last week, Williams also came out in support of legalization. According to Komisaruk, Williams spoke out “because she feels she owes it to other women who are being prosecuted for this type of activity.”