Teacher resigns amid sex probe
Harlem High School’s senior JROTC instructor recently resigned while under investigation for a reported sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student.
Mitchell Sivas, 57, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, resigned March 4 when confronted by Harlem High Principal Dietmar Perez, said Columbia County Schools Superintendent Charles Nagle.
Under Georgia law, a sexual relationship between a student and teacher from the same school is illegal even if the student is past the age of consent, said Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris.
However, there is no indication any such activity took place in Columbia County, and Thomson police investigating the incident said last week they believe no crime took place.
Harlem’s principal first learned of the allegations after the girl’s father discovered she was at Sivas’ Michael Street home in Thomson on March 3, Nagle said.
According to a Thomson police report obtained by The McDuffie Mirror, officers questioned the teen and Sivas after finding her at the home. Both denied there was a sexual relationship, though each professed “strong feelings” for each other.
In a subsequent report filed two days later with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, the teen “did finally admit to having a sexual relationship with LTC. Sivas.”
By the time that report was filed, Perez had already called Sivas to tell him not to return to school, Nagle said.
Sivas responded that he had already visited the school, cleaned out his desk and left a letter of resignation behind.
Morris said additional statements from the girl are being collected and will be turned over to Thomson police, and it will be up to them to pursue charges in that venue.
The school system has reported Sivas to the state teacher licensing board, Nagle said.
Sivas has been Harlem High’s senior JROTC instructor since he was hired in 2011, after previously serving as a JROTC instructor at Grady High School in Atlanta.
The following accounts were taken from reports from The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. Additional reports are available at www.columbiacountyso.org:
Man tries to flee from DUI arrest
A Martinez man wrecked his car Saturday while trying to run from a deputy as he was being arrested for DUI.
The deputy chased Anthony Lynn Buck, 42, of the 300 block of Forest Court, on Quail Creek Road, forced him to the ground and tried to handcuff him before Buck punched him in the eye. The deputy used pepper spray in an attempt to detain Buck, who also bit his arm.
Another officer arrived at the scene and also was kicked and punched by Buck. He also used pepper spray on Buck.
Once in custody, Buck was taken to University Hospital for injuries he received from the car wreck.
Buck was charged with DUI and felony obstruction of a law enforcement officer. He remained at the Columbia County Detention Center Tueday on a $17,900 bond.
Man arrested after melee
An Evans man was arrested Saturday for hitting his teen daughter after he had been drinking.
The 45-year-old, a resident of the 500 block of Blue Ridge Crossing, was charged with simple battery.
When the man came home from drinking with his wife, he yelled for his 17-year-old daughter to call the police because his foot had been run over.
He began turning over tables and cursing. As the daughter went to call deputies to the home, he shoved her bedroom door open, causing her to be pushed into the wall.
When deputies came to the residence, the man initially refused to let them in and continuously cursed at the officers.
He had injuries to his face and foot, but refused to let pictures be taken. Deputies could smell alcohol on his breath.
The deputies told him to stay away from his children when he was intoxicated and walked back to their cars.
One of the deputies realized he didn’t have all the information he needed and returned to the house, where he heard fighting coming from upstairs.
They heard the teen screaming and ran upstairs to see the man chasing his daughter. He was taken to jail and later released after posting $1,100 bond.
Two Augusta women were arrested Saturday during a traffic stop after they had shoplifted at the Evans Walmart.
Laporshece Ieasha McClain, 19, and Shekia Sheron Johnson, 19, were charged with theft by shoplifting.
The teens had taken several articles of clothing, including pajamas, boxers, purses and infant shoes, from the store and refused to stop when confronted.
They drove off in a silver Buick that was later found abandoned.
A Walmart loss prevention officer identified the vehicle as the one the women left in.
The women later were arrested when a different vehicle they were riding in was pulled over on Preakness Drive.
Johnson was released Sunday on bond set at $1,600. McClain remained at the Columbia County Detention Center Tuesday with bond set at $1,600.
iPOD tracked to pupil’s house
An iPod stolen from an Evans Middle School pupil’s locker Thursday was tracked to the home of a classmate.
The pupil’s mother used the iCloud application to track the music player to an address in Martinez.
Deputies went to the home and spoke with a pupil, who said she found the iPod in a hallway at the school. The pupil said she had planned to return the iPod to its owner the following day.