for sex with student
A former Harlem High School JROTC teacher accused of having sex with a student was arrested Wednesday.
Mitchell Sivas, 57, was charged with sexual assault against a person in custody after his attorney brought him to the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center at about 2:30 p.m., said Thomson Police Chief Joe Nelson.
Sivas resigned as Harlem’s Junior ROTC instructor March 4 when confronted about his relationship with a 17-year-old senior at the school. When asked the previous day by Thomson police whether sexual activity between the two had occurred, he denied it had.
However, the girl later told authorities the two had engaged in sex on more than one occasion, Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris said.
Following Sivas’ resignation, Thomson authorities initially said they would not pursue charges and deferred prosecution to Columbia County. But the alleged sex acts occurred out of Columbia County’s jurisdiction at Sivas’ Thomson home. Nelson asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for help with the case because of the “multi-jurisdictional” nature of the allegations against Sivas.
“The case was thoroughly investigated by the Thomson Police Department in connection with the GBI,” Nelson said Wednesday.
According to Georgia law, sex between a teacher and a student who attends the same school constitutes sexual assault, and the student’s consent cannot be used as a defense.
A person convicted under the law is subject to a minimum of one year in prison and a maximum of 25, and a fine of up to $100,000, or both, with harsher penalties for younger victims.
Sivas was released from the jail Wednesday after posting a $10,000 bond, Nelson said.
“The case has been turned over to the district attorney’s office for further prosecution,” he said.
Harlem woman pleads guilty to bank fraud
A Harlem woman accused of using a waitress’ identity to apply for student loans for her son was sentenced to federal prison Wednesday.
Regina Beard, 43, pled guilty to bank fraud and was sentenced to 46 months in prison at a hearing in U.S. Federal Court.
Evidence showed that Beard, using the identity of a waitress at an Evans restaurant, managed to apply for student loans for her son to attend college. Beard did not repay the loans.
The waitress said she worked at the restaurant as a second job to earn money to send her own children to college. Because of the harm Beard’s crimes caused to her credit, the waitress said she cannot co-sign her children’s college loans.
In addition to prison, U.S. District Court Judge J. Randall Hall sentenced Beard to pay $52,969 in restitution.
The following accounts were taken from reports from The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. Additional reports are available at www.columbiacountyso.org:
Three arrested for stealing from BOE-owned home
Three people were arrested Tuesday after authorities found them inside an Evans home owned by the Columbia County Board of Education.
Curtis Matthew Diles, 20, of Keg Point Road in Appling; Jeremy Thomas Heard, 27, of Sugar Creek Drive in Grovetown; and Shanna Quick McCook, 29, of Tobacco Road in Hephzibah; were charged with burglary.
About 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, two deputies investigated a call about people being inside the home on King Taylor Road near the Lakeside schools complex. McCook was sitting on the back of a GMC truck parked behind the vacant house. She said she was waiting for her friends, who were in the attic of the home.
The deputies heard a loud banging from inside, and they found Diles climbing down stairs leading to the attic. They heard another loud banging from the attic, where they found Heard.
Deputies found electrical wire rolled into a ball next to the attic stairs. Diles, who also had pliers in his pocket, and Heard were arrested.
While deputies were inside, McCook ran away. She later was found and arrested.
The license plate on the GMC truck outside recently was reported stolen from AutoPlex of Augusta.
All three were being held in the Columbia County Detention Center Thursday without bond, according to jail records.
Vandals damage Jewish Community Center athletic field
Someone recently damaged an athletic field at the Augusta Jewish Community Center.
A man called deputies to the community center at 898 Weinberger Way in Evans at about 9 a.m. Monday. He said someone drove a vehicle onto the soccer field between April 4 and Monday morning.
The vandals did about $2,000 in damage to the recently-sodded field, a goal post and players bench. Stating that similar incidents have occurred before, the man said they usually happen at night after a rain.
Greenbrier student reports lies, threats
A Greenbrier High School student called authorities Wednesday after being threatened by a classmate over a boy.
The 17-year-old student said that an 18-year-old female classmate posted comments on the student’s Facebook page, including one stating she had a sexually-transmitted disease.
The teen said her classmate is angry because she is dating her ex-boyfriend.
The teen said her classmate also threatened “to make her life hell” if she doesn’t leave the boy alone, and that she was going to ruin the teen’s prom if she attends with the boy.
Gas stolen from Asplundh truck
A foreman for Asplundh told deputies Tuesday morning that someone stole gasoline from a company truck during the night.
The foreman said a 2009 GMC C6500 truck was parked in the lot of Circle K at 3934 Washington Road from 6 p.m. Monday until 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.
During that time, someone punctured a hole in the bottom of the truck gas tank and drained fuel.