Ex-Band Director Pleads Guilty to Abusing 4 Students
On Thursday morning, former South Gwinnett High School band director Villie Jones pleaded guilty to sexually abusing four students in the less than 3 years that he worked at the school. The 45-year-old disgraced director pleaded guilty to 20 charges of sexual assault by a person with supervisory or disciplinary authority.
Jones admitted to having ongoing sexual relationships with four different students at South Gwinnett. According to an indictment, the abuse began in November 2014 and ended in April 2017. One of the victims was younger than 16, while the three others were between ages 16 and 18. He was arrested in May 2017 and resigned from his position as band director shortly before being arrested.
Most of the incidents happened on campus – including in the band room, a uniform room, a bathroom, and Jones’ office.
A judge sentenced Jones to 10 years in prison and 20 years of probation upon his release.
Legal Options For Victims of Sexual Abuse by School Employees
Attorney contributor Brian Kent of AbuseGuardian.com represents survivors of sexual violence in civil lawsuits, helping them find the answers and support they deserve. We’ve asked Brian to add some thoughts on the legal options available to those who have been sexually abused by school employees:
Teachers are in positions of authority and trust over their students. Parents also trust their community’s teachers with providing quality education and supervising their children throughout much of the week. When a teacher sexually abuses students, the victims suffer unimaginable trauma and public trust in educators is seriously damaged. It’s critical to make sure that these predators are prosecuted and that the victims get the full support they deserve.
In some cases of child sexual abuse involving school employees, the school district also bears responsibility for failing to prevent the abuse. For example, a school district might be considered liable for abuse if they failed to report previous allegations of sexual misconduct or failed to run a background check before hiring a new employee. In such cases, the victims may have grounds for a lawsuit against the school.
If you or your child is a survivor of sexual abuse by a school employee, you can learn more about your family’s legal rights by speaking to an experienced sexual abuse survivors attorney.