Teacher charged with additional sex crimes
by Emily McLain
Jan 08, 2014 | 8884 views |  0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rodricus Arlester Thomas
Rodricus Arlester Thomas
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SYLACAUGA – The middle school teacher arrested on sex charges Dec. 29 is now facing additional counts.

Rodricus Arlester Thomas, 31, of Sylacauga was previously charged with one count each of rape in the second degree and school employee engaging in a sex act or deviant sexual intercourse with a student under the age of 19 years.

On Jan. 7, Thomas was arrested again on an additional count of the same two charges, according to a Sylacauga police press release. He turned himself in to the Talladega County Sheriff’s Department and was transported to Talladega County Jail. Bond was set at $50,000 per charge for a total of $100,000.

The new charges mean there are now two victims involved and a total of two counts per charge, Sylacauga Police Chief Chris Carden said. Carden declined to provide further details on the case, but stressed that the investigation remains ongoing.

Thomas is employed by city schools as a physical education teacher at Nichols-Lawson Middle School, according to the school website. Following his first arrest, Thomas was placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation continues.

Schools Superintendent Dr. Todd Freeman previously released the following statement: “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 Tuesday he has no further comment other than to add that the investigation is ongoing.

The state superintendent has been informed of the occurrence, Freeman said, and Carden and Freeman confirmed there are no other law enforcement or education agencies involved in the investigation.

Thomas teaches seventh- and eighth-grade boys and is also middle school boy’s basketball coach. In his absence, former Nichols-Lawson principal Gerald Douglass is acting as coach. “We are most fortunate that Mr. Douglass agreed to do this for us,” Freeman said.

The basketball team played Pell City on Tuesday night and has two games remaining in the season on Jan. 9 and 14, according to a schedule on the school website.

Thomas has been at Nichols-Lawson Middle School since 2008 after spending one year in Anniston schools, the school website says. 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 two to 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.

Contact Emily McLain at eadams@dailyhome.com.