Former ROTC teacher sentenced for sex with student
The former Harlem High School JROTC instructor accused of having sex with a student was sentenced probation after pleading guilty Thursday in McDuffie County Superior Court.
Mitchell Sivas, 59, of Thomson, pled guilty to sexual assault with a person in custody. The charge refers to any teacher who has sex with a student who attends the same school. The law does not allow the student’s consent to be used as a defense.
Superior Court Judge Hal Hinesley sentenced Sivas to four years probation and a $2,000 fine. Sivas must also register as a sex offender. After the four years of probation are over, Sivas will no longer have to register as a sex offender, but he will not be allowed to teach again.
Hinesley allowed Sivas to continue to have visits with his children and grandchildren and be able to perform community activities without restriction.
Sivas was 57 and the student 17 at the time of the incidents. The student has since graduated from Harlem High and is attending college.
Bank robber with fake bomb gets prison
A Martinez man who tried to rob a bank with a fake bomb last summer was sentenced to prison Thursday.
Ted Howard Screws Jr., 45, pled guilty to armed robbery and possession of a hoax device at a sentencing hearing in Columbia County. Superior Court Judge J. Wade Padgett sentenced Screws to 10 years in prison, the mandatory minimum for armed robbery, followed by five years on probation. He also must also get psychological counseling and repay the rest of the stolen money, about $1,000.
Authorities say Screws walked into the First Bank of Georgia on Furys Ferry Road on June 28 and handed the teller a note and a homemade device. He left the bank with nearly $5,000. He was later located and arrested. The device was a fake made from plastic pipe. Screws told deputies where to find $3,750 in his home.
“Money problems,” Screws’ attorney Cecelia Toole said at the hearing, explaining that economic conditions forced the closure of the family construction business Screws ran. “Basically, he needed to pay the bills.”
Toole said Screws was on a drinking bender and doesn’t remember some of the incident. He was released from the Columbia County Detention Center on Aug. 20 after posting a $40,000 bond, according to jail records.
The following account was taken from reports from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office:
Woman says she was assaulted
A Martinez woman told authorities Wednesday her fiance assaulted and threatened her.
The 30-year-old said she and her fiance were arguing sometime after 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. The woman said he got in her face and bumped her with his chest. She went into a closet to separate herself from him, but he followed her, grabbed her throat and said, “Tonight is the night you are going to die.”
While he was holding her throat, the woman said, he slammed her head into the wall about 15 times. She said he grabbed her wrists and drug her into the hallway, where they continued to argue. The woman said he threw her onto the bedroom floor and left. Deputies couldn’t reach the fiance. Because of her lack of physical marks, no charges were filed.
Seats stolen from golf car
Two residents of Jensen’s Wymberly told deputies Monday that someone stole the seats from their golf cars.
The residents of the Martinez retirement community said their golf cars were parked under their carports overnight Sunday. On Monday morning, the residents said the front seats of the golf cars were missing.
A 77-year-old resident said the thief left the rear seat, which has to be unbolted from the golf car’s frame. The missing front seat lifts easily off to allow access to the car batteries.
Motorist damages field
A Grovetown man called authorities Tuesday after discovering someone drove through his freshly plowed field.
The 79-year-old man said his newly plowed field on Wilkins Road was clearly marked with a No Trespassing sign Monday evening. On Tuesday morning, the man discovered someone pulled up the sign and threw it in nearby woods. Someone then damaged the field by driving vehicles through it.