Former teacher indicted for sex with student
A McDuffie County grand jury on Monday indicted a former Harlem High School Junior ROTC instructor for having sex with a 17-year-old student.
Mitchell Sivas, 57, of Thomson, was indicted Monday on a charge of sexual assault by a person with disciplinary authority, according to records in McDuffie County Superior Court.
Sivas likely will be formally charged and arraigned in a hearing that could take place in mid-July, according to Superior Court Clerk Connie Cheatham.
Sivas, who resigned from Harlem High on March 4, was charged on April 11 and currently is free on $10,000 bond. The student has since graduated from Harlem.
After initially denying any sexual activity took place, the student later told investigators that she and Sivas had sex at his home in Thomson. Sivas then was arrested.
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, no matter the student’s age.
Three caught, one sought after Grovetown sting
Grovetown authorities recently arrested three people for selling drugs and are looking for a fourth.
Miriam Hightower, 53, and Curtis Edward Gibson, 63, both of Fifth Avenue in Grovetown, were charged with selling marijuana on Thursday by the Grovetown Department of Public Safety.
Though arrested May 26, Patrick Donnell Ealy, 46, of Magnolia Drive in Grovetown, was charged with four counts of selling marijuana and a probation violation as part of the same sting, said Grovetown Department of Public Safety Director Gary Owens.
Another man, Larry Jefferson, is wanted for similar crimes.
Owens said Monday that the arrests were the result of a sting in coordination with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.
Undercover Grovetown officers bought marijuana from Hightower and Gibson at their Fifth Avenue home on May 16 and 22, Owens said, while Ealy’s four counts stem from sales from his Magnolia Drive home on May 17, 18, 19 and 25.
Hightower and Gibson are being held in the Columbia County Detention Center each on a $10,100 bond, according to jail records. Ealy is being held without bond.
Anyone with information about Jefferson’s whereabouts should call the Grovetown Department of Public Safety at (706) 863-1212.
Judge denies new Dean trial
A Superior Court judge on Friday denied former Columbia County commissioner Scott Dean a new trial on child molestation charges.
Dean, who was convicted in December of molesting his adopted teen daughter, filed a motion for a new trial in February.
After hearing arguments from Dean’s attorney, Pete Theodocion, Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. denied the request.
“Let the appellate process begin,” said Blanchard.
The jury found Dean guilty of exposing himself to and inappropriately touching his teen daughter, one of five children he and his wife adopted from Guatemala in 2008. He denied the charges when he testified at the trial.
Theodocion argued that the allegations against Dean were fabricated. He said testimony should have been allowed in Dean’s trial that showed his daughter lied in a similar situation in Guatemala.
Also during the criminal trial, prosecutors introduced testimony that Dean at age 14 molested two 12-year-old girls. Theodocion argued the testimony was inappropriate because the incidents involved juveniles, not an adult and child.
Theodocion said that the incidents, which happened at a group sleepover in 1984, were never documented with authorities.
The jury convicted Dean on two counts of child molestation. In February, Blanchard sentenced him to 20 years in prison and 20 years on probation.
Theodocion has 30 days to file an appeal of Dean’s verdict with the Georgia Court of Appeals.
The following accounts were taken from reports from The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. Additional reports are available at www.columbiacountyso.org:
Couple charged after sex in movie theater
Authorities arrested a couple Thursday after they were caught having sex inside an Evans movie theater.
Claude Lamar Harris Jr., 31, of Honors Way in Martinez, and Angela Prater Veale, 43, of Galahad Way in Augusta, were charged with public indecency.
At about 3:30 p.m., a manager of the Evans 14 Cinemas told a deputy that a couple was having sex inside one of the theaters.
The manager said several employees saw Harris and Veale having sex and flicked the lights on and off in hopes of stopping them.
The deputy saw the pair having sex on the floor, told them to get dressed and arrested them.
Harris and Veale were released from the Columbia County Detention Center Thursday evening after each posted a $1,600 bond, said sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris.
Woman breaks into boyfriend’s home
A Martinez woman was arrested Saturday after she broke into her boyfriend’s home.
Anna Joy Nichols, 36, of Park Way Drive, was charged with criminal trespass.
Nichols’ 36-year-old boyfriend said that at about 10 p.m. he and Nichols were at a party in Martinez when they argued. After Nichols slapped him, the boyfriend said he left the party for home.
Later, Nichols went to her boyfriend’s home and banged on the front door. The man said he told her to leave, but instead Nichols broke a living room window and cut her hand as she climbed into the home.
The man called authorities and Nichols locked herself in a bedroom. When deputies arrived, Nichols pushed out a bedroom window screen and fled.
Deputies found blood on a backyard fence and Nichols in the neighbor’s back yard.
In a separate incident report, a Martinez man also at the party told deputies that Nichols damaged the windshield of his Jeep.
Others told him Nichols threw a bottle of alcohol that hit the windshield of his Jeep during the argument with her boyfriend. Nichols denied causing the damage.
Nichols, deputies noted, registered a .340 on a blood alcohol sensor.
Deputies took Nichols to a hospital to treat her cut hand, and then to the Columbia County Detention Center.
She was released from the jail Sunday after posting an $1,100 bond, according to jailers.
Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue activity report for June 3-9:
Medical calls, 21; vehicle wrecks, four; investigations, three; mutual aid/public safety assistance, two; electrical incidents, two; activated fire alarms, two; controlled/unauthorized burns, two; structure fires, two; activated carbon monoxide detector, one; CPR in progress, one; dumpster fire, one; ruptured gas line, one; assist citizens, one; damage from inclement weather, one; and wood/brush/grass fires, one.