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Westminster student accused of child molestation no longer at school

18-year-old is charged with child molestation

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The 18-year-old West­minster Schools of Augusta student-athlete accused of having sexual relations with a 13-year-old on campus is no longer enrolled, according to Erin Kirchoff, the school’s director of marketing and communications.

The investigation is being handled by the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, although the school is cooperating and providing information.

“Our primary focus is on our students and families at this time,” Kirchoff said in a news release. “The safety of our students is of the utmost importance and will continue to be our priority.”

Jeremiah Coleman was arrested Thursday and charged with aggravated child molestation, Capt. Scott Peebles said.

Peebles said the sexual activity occurred over “a period of time” before school officials became aware and contacted police.

Coleman played varsity baseball and soccer for the school and was invited to attend the National Youth Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C., earlier this year, according to Augusta Chronicle archives.

Westminster Headmaster Steve O’Neil said school officials are taking short- and long-term actions to ensure that similar incidents don’t happen. Supervision at all after-school events has been increased, particularly at the gymnasium as basketball season continues.

O’Neil also created a task force of employees to create long-term measures to avoid other incidents.

In such difficult circumstances, O’Neil said, communication is also key.

On Friday, he spoke to each high school grade individually in the library to answer questions and explain consequences for sexual crimes.

“I think that it’s incredibly important for them to understand the law as it relates to what happened but to also be aware for their lives,” O’Neil said.

Even though the school is trying to move on from the incident, O’Neil said, the mood on campus reflects the mixed emotions from students. Some are curious, others are confused and most are disappointed.

“We’re saddened, at a loss for words, just disbelief,” O’Neil said.

Comments (11) Add comment
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tanbaby
1304
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tanbaby 12/03/11 - 07:18 am
0
0
officials are taking short
Unpublished

officials are taking short and long term actions to ensure that similar incidents don't happen???? what are they going to do ???? install chastity belts and zipper locks ????? NO ONE will ever be able to stop teenagers from having sex....once those hormones take over, watch out !!!! no turning back then !!!!

Dixieman
15855
Points
Dixieman 12/03/11 - 08:55 am
0
0
Right, you can't stop it 100%

Right, you can't stop it 100% but it is certainly worth the try. Otherwise, your argument is like saying laws can't ever stop crime 100% so never mind even trying to enforce them. Westminster has handled this very well.

allhans
23992
Points
allhans 12/03/11 - 10:01 am
0
0
We are seeing more and more

We are seeing more and more of the "sex during school" and this has to be stopped.

augusta817
75
Points
augusta817 12/03/11 - 10:39 am
0
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Westminster is to be

Westminster is to be commended for the way they handled this. Yes, they followed the law, and there is no evidence of cover-up. Pretty amazing comment on society when following the law is commended. Wish Penn State and Syracuse did this. Much pain could have been prevented.

TheArmyWife
0
Points
TheArmyWife 12/03/11 - 10:53 am
0
0
I commend Westminster for

I commend Westminster for addressing this issue, too many schools do nothing about their problems.

hotcar
0
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hotcar 12/03/11 - 10:55 am
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Right on tanbaby Every child

Right on tanbaby

Every child molestation case should be taken Very Seriously. I also think a case like this should be handled a little different. I know the law is the law.....BUT maybe if (in a case like this) the under age "partaker" is punished in the court of law as well WE may see a huge decline in "events" such as this!!!! IN THIS CASE (and in others such as this) there will be child molestation charges brought against this 18 year old.....what charges will the law smack on this 13 year old????? Come On!!!!!

JRC2024
9255
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JRC2024 12/03/11 - 11:47 am
0
0
I have always thought both

I have always thought both should be charged if both were willing and both names should be revealed. Unwilling is a different story. I am also glad Westminister did not try to cover this up and is taking steps to curtail the urge at events.

writer
234
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writer 12/03/11 - 03:18 pm
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While I agree that

While I agree that Westminster should be commended for taking it seriously (duh), if this were a public school occurrence, there would be some serious commentary about the lack of supervision that allowed this to happen multiple times on school property. As a matter of fact, teachers and administrators at public schools in the area have been vilified when similar incidents took place. And, some of those schools have much bigger populations to deal with. Given the age differences, these students were a senior and probably an eighth grader? a high school and a middle schooler with the opportunity to mess around during school and school events? hmmmm...

writer
234
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writer 12/03/11 - 03:20 pm
0
0
high schooler

high schooler

drivenslow
0
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drivenslow 12/03/11 - 05:03 pm
0
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so the girl was a willing
Unpublished

so the girl was a willing participant and was enjoying every minute and this guys future is over forever......stupid bible belt laws are a joke

drivenslow
0
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drivenslow 12/03/11 - 05:06 pm
0
0
if you folks had any real
Unpublished

if you folks had any real idea what your little angels do these days...well no you do know because we did the same thing the only difference between us and them is we didnt get caught my first girlfriend was a sophmore in high school and i was in middle school...and that girl could be in jail and a sex offender but our parents had common sense

augusta817
75
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augusta817 12/03/11 - 07:33 pm
0
0
Excellent point about lack of

Excellent point about lack of supervision and I agree the newspaper would be all over the public schools were this to happen there. I disagree that the 13 year old agreeing requires public castigation. I believe the theory of the law is that any 13 year old is incapable of making this decision and the 18 year old totally responsible. If society starts allowing 13 year olds to consent whit a steep, slippery slope of permissible perversion.

ldegutes1
46
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ldegutes1 12/03/11 - 08:05 pm
0
0
Was this the young man's

Was this the young man's girlfriend, and the family objected to the relationship, not saying that having sex on school property is right, but should the relationship be boyfriend and girlfriend justify the young man spending his life on the sex predators list, or serve time in prison for having a girlfriend underage.

Dixieman
15855
Points
Dixieman 12/04/11 - 07:46 am
0
0
The age of consent in GA is

The age of consent in GA is 16. Period. Under that age it is legally impossible to consent to sexual relations even if your heart says otherwise. Minor twist: If you are 14 or more and the person you have sex with is under 18 and the sex is consensual, it is still wrong but not a felony as the charge is reduced to a misdemeanor. However, with an age gap like this one 18 and 13 there is nothing to say about the girl's participation - legally there cannot have been any consent and there is just no excuse for what he did/

sonicnec
1
Points
sonicnec 12/04/11 - 08:33 pm
1
0
What are you talking about?

What are you talking about? Punish the 13 year old? This man is a predator and a child molester. What he did was rape, nothing less. We need to start teaching our society "don't rape" rather than just saying "don't get raped."

Tullie
2930
Points
Tullie 11/01/12 - 02:49 pm
0
0
Translation?

Was this the young man's girlfriend, and the family objected to the relationship, not saying that having sex on school property is right, but should the relationship be boyfriend and girlfriend justify the young man spending his life on the sex predators list, or serve time in prison for having a girlfriend underage.

Not sure what was the point of this sentence or question, whatever it is.

It bothers me to think they are more concerned about his future by being placed on the sex predators list because they might be girlfriend and boyfriend.

I don't think a 13-year old girl needs to be anyone's girlfriend. Much less having sexual relations at that age. She is a child, she is not mature enough (no matter what she thinks) to handle a relationship. And what happens if she were to get pregnant?

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