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October 23, 2014

Former Sylacauga teacher gets 15 years in rape case

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Posted: Wednesday, July 9, 2014 10:10 pm | Updated: 10:17 pm, Wed Jul 9, 2014.

TALLADEGA -- A former Nichols-Lawson Middle School teacher was sentenced to 15 years in prison by Circuit Judge Julian King Tuesday after pleading guilty to two counts of rape in the second degree and two counts of school employee engaging in a sex act with a student under the age of 19.

According to Talladega County District Attorney Steve Giddens, Rodricus Arlester Thomas, 31, was sentenced to serve all four 15 year sentences concurrently, and probation was denied.

Thomas taught seventh and eighth grade boys’ physical education since 2008. He also coached football and basketball.

The two counts of each charge involved two different victims. The mothers of both victims gave statements to the court before sentencing, Giddens said.

“This was a good sentence given the circumstances involved in these cases, with Thomas being a teacher and both of the victims being students. Judge King pointed out that parents should always have a reasonable expectation of safety and security when their send their children to school. The betrayal in this case could not have been worse.”

Thomas resigned from the Sylacauga City School system in January, shortly after he was arrested in connection with allegations by the first victim. He informed the court of his intent to enter guilty pleas last month.

Also in court this week:

O King accepted a guilty plea from Gregory Wallace, 56, to assault in the first degree and sentenced him to 100 months in prison.

O King sentenced Joshua Titus, 26, to 365 days in jail, suspended, 24 months probation, after accepting a guilty plea to attempted fraudulent use of a credit or debit card.

O King sentenced Felix Crayton, 51, to 24 months, suspended, 36 months probation for possession of a controlled substance and 339 days in jail, suspended, 36 months probation for possession of drug paraphernalia.

O King sentenced Melissa Goings, 26, to five years each for manufacture of a controlled substance in the second degree and possession of a controlled substance and six months each for possession of drug paraphernalia and endangering the welfare of a child. All sentences are concurrent and suspended with three years probation.

O King sentenced Barry Woolley, 45, to 97 months, split, 24 months in prison and 36 months probation for possession of a controlled substance.

O King sentenced Sharmar Lewis, 31, to concurrent 88 months sentences for three counts of distribution of a controlled substance.

O King sentenced Courtney Jones, 24, to 24 months, split, nine months to serve and 36 months probation, on two counts of burglary in the third degree. Across the hall, Circuit Judge Bo Hollingsworth sentenced Jones to 30 months for burglary in the third degree and theft of property in the first degree.

O Hollingsworth sentenced Robert Thompson, 49, to 67 months, reverse split, three years probation and 24 months to serve for possession of a controlled substance.

O Hollingsworth sentenced Natasha Burnette to 12 months in jail, suspended, 24 months probation for theft of property in the third degree. She was indicted for theft of property in the second degree but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge.

O Hollingsworth sentenced Pebbles Young, 23, to 24 months, suspended, three years probation for theft of property in the second degree and fraudulent use of a credit or debit card.

O Hollingsworth sentenced Tiffany Duke, 24, to two years, suspended, two years probation for escape in the third degree.

O Hollingsworth sentenced Dylan McWilliams, 37, to 24 months, suspended, three years probation for theft of property in the second degree.

O Hollingsworth sentenced Crystal Patterson, 46, to 24 months, suspended, three years probation for fraudulent use of a credit card.

O Hollingsworth sentenced Joshua Moses, 22, to 33 months, suspended, three years probation for receiving stolen property in the second degree.

O Hollingsworth sentenced Joey Farler, 29, to 55 months, reverse split, three years probation and 18 months to serve for four counts of possession of a controlled substance and 12 months each, two years probation for two counts of possession in marijuana in the second degree and possession of drug paraphernalia.

O Hollingsworth sentenced Kelsey Cox, 19, to two years, two years probation for possession of a controlled substance.

Contact Chris Norwood at cnorwood@dailyhome.com.

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