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Henderson County School Board member Michael Absher found not guilty on both counts

Henderson County School Board member Michael Absher has been found not guilty on both misdemeanor charges he faced: contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and communicating a threat. Photo: WLOS staff

Henderson County School Board member Michael Absher has been found not guilty on both charges he faced: contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and aiding and abetting the consumption of alcohol by a minor.

The charges are related to Only Hope WNC, the homeless shelter Absher operates for area youths.

He was arrested in May after accusations that he allowed underage drinking at the shelter.

When the trial began last week, teenage witnesses testified that Absher bought them bottles of liquor and drove them to buy marijuana, or gave them money to purchase it.

On Tuesday, a detective with the Henderson County Sheriff's Office testified that Absher acknowledged that he knew underage drinking had occurred at the shelter, but didn't think to call authorities.

Later, two Only Hope WNC residents took the stand, claiming Absher’s accuser threatened to get them sent home and have the shelter shut down.

On Tuesday afternoon, Absher’s defense attorney questioned two teenage shelter residents who testified that Absher’s teenage accuser threatened that if he were kicked out, he would “take Michael down with him.”

Michael Absher is currently a Henderson County School Board member. He had been asked to step down, but refused.

A school board member said previously that the charges were not the reason Absher should leave office.

"Far more importantly than the outcome in court is he has admitted to threatening to (assaulting) a school employee, and the reasons Buncombe County has outlined for his termination," Henderson County School Board Chairperson Amy Lynn Holt told News 13 last summer.

Buncombe County Schools fired Absher for improper conduct as a bus driver.

"I'm not resigning. I have full intentions to put myself back onto that seat after the issues are dealt with," Absher told News 13 in July 2017 about his decision not to step down.

There were supporters in the audience of a special school board meeting held last year, fans of a young man who has been helping homeless students since he was one himself.

"How much good he's done in this county, since he became an adult, I've been very aware of it, and I appreciate what he's done," one supporter told us at the meeting.



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