Sentence given to Lowndes Co. teacher

Published 10:17pm Monday, April 15, 2013

HAYNEVILLE — A former Lowndes County Public Schools teacher has been convicted of having sexual contact with a student under the age of 19.

Lowndes County District Attorney Charlotte Tesmer announced the Wednesday, April 10 conviction of Charles Simmons, who was 30 of Montgomery at the time of his arrest.

She said the conviction came in the first week of the criminal jury trial term.

Tesmer said Simmons, a former Lowndes Middle School teacher, was convicted by a jury of “school employee i.e. teacher having sexual contact” with a student who is less than 19-years-old.

“The victim was 14-years-old at the time,” Tesmer said.

She said Simmons was sentenced to 12 months in the county jail to be served on a split sentence basis. “He is to serve 30 days with the remainder suspended and defendant will be on two years unsupervised probation,” she said.

Tesmer also said that Simmons was fined and ordered to pay court costs with the sentence deferred until April 17.

“Charles Simmons was terminated following a lengthy investigation and due process last year on grounds of neglect of duty, immorality, failure to perform duties in a satisfactory manner and other just causes,” Lowndes County School Superintendent Dr. Daniel Boyd said.

“We treat allegations of this nature very seriously and will not tolerate any such conduct,” Boyd said. He said the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department, Lowndes County Department of Human Resources and the District Attorney’s Office aided the school district through the whole process.

Simmons turned himself in to the Lowndes County Jail on March 9, 2012 and bonded out on a misdemeanor charge of “school employee sexual.” The bond was set at $6,000.

“I am pleased with the conviction … I am disappointed in the sentence,” Tesmer said. “At least this conviction should keep him from teaching and having contact with other young ladies.”

In another case, Tesmer said George Hardy, who was 54 of Hayneville at the time of his indictment, plead guilty to shooting into an occupied building and shooting into an unoccupied building.

Tesmer said shooting into an occupied building is a class B felony and shooting into an unoccupied building is a class C felony.

She said the Class B felony punishment range is two to 20 years in the penitentiary and class C felony is 1 year and 1 day to 10 years in the penitentiary. “Sentencing is May 8, 2013,” Tesmer said.

Hardy was indicted on Jan. 28 of this year.

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