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August 16, 2012

Colquitt County High band director charged with having sex with a student

MOULTRIE — Colquitt County High School’s band director remained jailed Thursday night after he was accused that afternoon of having sex with a band member.

Police said Paul Joseph Guilbeau had consensual sex off-campus with the 17-year-old girl.

“He just had a sexual relationship with one of the students,” Moultrie Police Department Inv. Steven Colgan said. “We don’t have anything to suggest it was ongoing. Right now it appears it was a one-time incident.”

Colgan said that police were investigating whether there were any phone conversations or text messages between Guilbeau, 42, and the student. The case remains under investigation and more information will be available later.

Police launched the investigation after the girl’s parents went to headquarters and reported they had learned of the alleged incident.

Although the age of consent in Georgia is 16, state law prohibits any sexual contact between a student and any teacher or administrator at the student’s school.

“Any sexual contact between a teacher and someone who’s a student at the same school is considered a crime,” Colgan said.

A Colquitt County Jail employee said Thursday evening that no bond hearings were held that afternoon so Guilbeau will remain in custody until at least today.

After talking with the parents, police also talked with the girl and then called Guilbeau in for questioning, Colquitt County Schools Superintendent Samuel DePaul said during a telephone interview.

Based on the criminal charges, Guilbeau has been suspended with pay pending further investigation, DePaul said. The school system is required to hold a hearing prior to terminating an employee if the employee wishes to have one.

“From our school standpoint everyone has rights,” he said. “There’s two things; obviously he’s going to have trouble with the legal standpoint, and also with the school system.

“In a case like this the person is immediately suspended. You do it with pay just to be on the safe side.”

In addition to the disruption of having an employee arrested, administrators at the high school worked Thursday on how the band will move forward.

“Right now, this took us by surprise this morning,” DePaul said. “Band will go on. That’s what they’re working on at this moment.”

DePaul said the school’s guidance office will work with the student if she needs counseling.

Chris Mathes, parent of a 10th-grade daughter at CCHS, said he is concerned about the allegations of a school employee having sex with a teenager.

“I’m definitely an outraged parent over this situation here,” he said. “You’re supposed to trust the places where your kids are in the day time. Who are you supposed to trust? It’s messed up.”

The impact of the circumstances of the band director’s apparent departure from the program will not be good, he said. “It’s going to be craziness,” Mathes said.

His wife, Michelle Mathes, said that their daughter was “shocked” upon learning of the arrest. Mathes, a C.A. Gray Junior High teacher, said she heard that band practice had been canceled in the afternoon, but did not know why until later.

“I know a lot of them (students) didn’t know until they got home,” she said.

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  • public safety awards.tif

    Pictured are the honorees of Thursday night's annual Public Safety Officer Appreciation and Awards Banquet by the Tifton Elks Lodge. Shown, from left, are Louise Spradley, who organized the banquet, Eddie Brown with the Tift County Emergency Medical Services, Sgt. Debbie Pyles with the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Police Department, Sgt. Bart Walker with the Omega Police Department, Officer of the Year honoree Thomas Catanzarita with the Tift County Sheriff's Office Jail Division, Deputy Jonathan Toledo with the TCSO, Brandi Conway with the Tifton-Tift County Animal Shelter, Georgia State Patrol Trooper Ben Taylor, Officer Brian Shockley with the Tifton Police Department and volunteer Firefighter Brian Fincher with the Chula Fire Department.

    LEOs and first responders honored at banquet

    A room full of local law enforcement and first responders were honored Thursday night by the Tifton Elks Lodge at their annual Public Safety Officer Appreciation and Awards Banquet for their service in the community.
    Prior to the awards being given out, Louise Spradley, who organized the banquet, welcomed everyone, and the invocation and pledge were led by the Tift County Sheriff's Office Honor Guard.

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