Rodricus Arlester Thomas, 31, of Sylacauga was charged with second-degree rape and school employee engaging in sex act or deviant sexual intercourse with a student under the age of 19, police announced in a press release Monday.
Thomas is employed by city schools as a physical education teacher at Nichols-Lawson Middle School, according to the school website.
He is being held at the Talladega County Jail, and bond was set at $20,000 per charge.
Schools Superintendent Dr. Todd Freeman said the School System was notified of the arrest Sunday, and Thomas has been placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation is ongoing.
“Sylacauga city schools is working diligently with the Sylacauga Police Department and other administrative agencies to ensure the safety and well-being of our students and employees,” Freeman said.
Thomas teaches seventh- and eighth-grade boys and is also middle school boy’s basketball coach, Freeman confirmed. He has been at Nichols-Lawson Middle School since 2008 after spending one year in Anniston schools, according to the school website. He graduated from Sylacauga High School in 2000 and from Jacksonville State University in 2006.
According to the Code of Alabama Section 13A-6-62, rape in the second degree occurs when a person 16 years or older engages in sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex less than 16 and more than 12 years old, provided the actor is at least two years older than the member of the opposite sex, or when he or she engages in sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex who is incapable of consent by reason of being mentally defective.
A person commits the crime of a school employee engaging in a sex act or deviant sexual intercourse with a student under the age of 19 years if he or she is a school employee and engages in a sex act or deviant sexual intercourse with a student, regardless of whether the student is male or female, states Section 13A-6-81 of state code. Consent is not a defense to a charge under this section.
Both charges are Class B felonies, each carrying a sentence of 2-20 year in prison, if convicted.
Information about a crime can be reported to Sylacauga Police Department Investigations at 256-401-2464 or report anonymously at 256-249-4716.
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