Originally created 09/27/03

Molestation suspect gets bond



An Augusta Superior Court judge granted bond Friday to a teenager accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl while on a school field trip.

Judge William M. Fleming Jr. granted a $50,000 bond for Reginald West, 17, charged with aggravated child molestation.

Assistant District Attorney Shauna Reeves told the court that investigators found that Mr. West and the 13-year-old victim were traveling on a Richmond County school bus Sunday night, returning from a school JROTC field trip.

Investigators found that Mr. West exposed himself, then forced the girl to perform a sex act, Ms. Reeves said.

The girl's mother later reported the incident to police, Ms. Reeves said.

She said the girl has been threatened at school over the incident and has not been able to return to class. Ms. Reeves said the state opposed granting bond to Mr. West.

"If I had only known that (the assault) would have happened, I would have never let her go on this trip," the victim's mother told Judge Fleming.

"This is an experience she's going to have to suffer with for the rest of her life," she said.

Clayton Jolly, the defense attorney for Mr. West, said that his client denies that the incident took place.

"She picked his picture out of a photo lineup," Mr. Jolly said.

Both Ms. Reeves and Mr. Jolly declined to name the school, but according to the Richmond County Sheriff's Office, the Richmond County Board of Education Public Safety Department was notified about the incident.

Judge Fleming also mandated that Mr. West, his family and the victim's family not have contact with one another.

Mr. West is not to return to the same school that the girl attends, the judge ordered.

"This is an experience she's going to have to suffer with for the rest of her life." - Mother of sexual assault victim

Reach Jeremy Craig at (706) 823-3409 or jeremy.craig@augustachronicle.com.