Ex-band director admits to sleepovers

Superintendent Dana Bedden discusses the allegations surrounding the ex-band director at Butler High School.
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Butler High School's former band director, now under investigation for allegations he had a sexual relationship with a student, held unauthorized sleepovers at the school for band members.

Anthony Shelton on Friday denied accusations that he engaged in a four-month sexual relationship with a 16-year-old female student, but he acknowledged that he let band members -- both boys and girls -- sleep at school on at least two occasions.

The incidents were reported in an internal affairs investigation by the Richmond County school system after a female student said Mr. Shelton made inappropriate comments to her. That investigation led to another student who made a similar accusation, according to a copy of the investigation obtained by The Augusta Chronicle .

This investigation is separate from the one launched by the Richmond County Sheriff's Office after the 16-year-old's mother filed a report Thursday claiming Mr. Shelton had sex with her daughter. She alleged the sexual encounters occurred up to eight times a week in the school's band room. The student told her mother that Mr. Shelton, 37, stored condoms in his desk and would often remove her from classes to have sex with him, the report stated.

"The worst part is it wasn't when they were going out on these field trips; it was during school time," the mother said when contacted Friday.

The mother initially spoke with school board police. The information was turned over to the sheriff's office because Mr. Shelton no longer works for the school system.

By Friday afternoon, Investigator Thelma Gilchrist said, she had yet to speak with Mr. Shelton, who was hired as the band director in June, or the student. Depending on those interviews, Mr. Shelton could face charges of sexual assault against persons in custody, a felony that can carry a maximum punishment of 30 years in prison.

"It does not matter about the consent of the victim," Investigator Gilchrist said. "As long as the offender has some authority over the victim, they could be charged under this statute."

Mr. Shelton, who was aware of the school's investigation before he resigned in late March, said he knew nothing about the sexual assault allegation when reached by a reporter Friday.

"It's totally false and untrue," he said by phone. "This is the first time I've heard of anything like this."

But Mr. Shelton did admit he allowed the sleepovers.

Sgt. Troi Niehus, the school system's internal affairs investigator, said she discovered that on at least two occasions Mr. Shelton allowed students to sleep at the school overnight and that four volunteers assisting him had not been properly screened by school officials.

Two of the volunteers had felony convictions, including one with an outstanding warrant who had been sentenced to 10 years in prison for theft, burglary, false imprisonment and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

Sgt. Niehus said the volunteers were involved with the band before Mr. Shelton became director. Superintendent Dana Bedden said there was enough evidence to show Mr. Shelton had violated board policy, though not enough to substantiate claims of inappropriate comments to students.

Mr. Shelton said the sleepovers occurred when band members returned late from out-of-town football games on Friday and had early performances the next day. He said he decided it wasn't safe to allow students to drive or walk home in the early morning hours, so volunteers stayed with them while he went home to shower.

"Maybe it was the wrong judgement, but at the same time, what were we supposed to do?" Mr. Shelton asked. He said boys and girls slept in separate rooms.

However, a mother of one of the band members said in the school's investigation that she saw boys and girls sleeping in the same room with no adult supervision.

Mr. Shelton denied making inappropriate comments to any student and said it's always been his policy to avoid meeting with female students alone.

The female students who made the accusations in the school's investigation did so as part of a vendetta against him, Mr. Shelton said. He removed one of the girls from the flag line, and other girls felt the only way to get on the flag line next school year was to have their teacher fired, he said.

Mr. Shelton said he resigned because he knew he wouldn't be rehired.

"My lawyer thought it was just best at this point because they had pretty much already decided they were not going to renew my contract next year," he said.

Dr. Bedden, who held a news conference Friday afternoon to address the sexual assault allegation, said Mr. Shelton would have been fired if he had not resigned. He said Mr. Shelton violated several board policies, citing taking students out of class to see him, giving duplicate keys to the school to people not employed with the school system, questionable booster club spending and not doing background checks on volunteers.

The superintendent forwarded his investigation to the Professional Standards Commission, the agency that handles complaints against Georgia educators. Dr. Gary Walker, the director of the commission's ethics division, confirmed receiving a complaint involving professional misconduct but said it had just been submitted and had yet to be investigated.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (73) Add comment
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patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 05/03/08 - 06:12 am
0
0
Mr Shelton's background needs

Mr Shelton's background needs to be checked. His actions aren't those of a "first timer". I'd not be surprised if he left a trail.

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
Points
No_Longer_Amazed 05/03/08 - 06:27 am
1
0
The mother said "The worst

The mother said "The worst part is it wasn't when they were going out on these field trips; it was during school time" IMHO the "worst part" is that it happened at all. Hasn't this been a trend with local High School band directors and students over the past few years? Doesn't this mother's comment sum up todays attitude which had resulted in kids having kids?

pofwe
5
Points
pofwe 05/03/08 - 06:49 am
0
0
No_Longer_Amazed, You nailed

No_Longer_Amazed, You nailed it. The mother has no sense of values. Sounds like she may be envious.

christian134
1
Points
christian134 05/03/08 - 06:50 am
0
0
Hopefully another molester

Hopefully another molester bites the dust.....

mayhem2020
0
Points
mayhem2020 05/03/08 - 07:13 am
0
0
What did the mother who saw

What did the mother who saw girls and boys "sleeping in the same room" do when she saw this happening?? Appears like nothing!

karmakills123
8
Points
karmakills123 05/03/08 - 07:16 am
0
0
QUOTE>>"He said Mr. Shelton

QUOTE>>"He said Mr. Shelton violated several board policies, citing taking students out of class to see him, giving duplicate keys to the school to people not employed with the school system, questionable booster club spending and not doing background checks on volunteers......" UNBELIEVABLE!!!! How was this creature hired in the first place???????

KSL
134593
Points
KSL 05/03/08 - 07:30 am
0
0
When I was growing up, eons

When I was growing up, eons ago, I have to admit that there were a lot of things I knew nothing about until my mid to late teens. That is not the case today. I certainly knew right from wrong. In other words, it would not have come to this. In other words, I am pretty sick and tired of hearing about 16 victims who have done nothing to prevent the repeated occurrence of incidents.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 05/03/08 - 07:38 am
0
0
cultural differences, ksl

cultural differences, ksl

WHATDIDIDO
0
Points
WHATDIDIDO 05/03/08 - 07:40 am
0
1
PT, that's bull, ask any

PT, that's bull, ask any parent, this problem crosses racial and cultural lines.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 05/03/08 - 07:58 am
0
0
Hypo, you miss my point. Some

Hypo, you miss my point. Some people in some cultures don't feel these issues need addressing or feel that addressing them is of low priority. As for the problem crossing all racial and cultural lines, that's right.

iletuknow
8
Points
iletuknow 05/03/08 - 08:07 am
0
0
Normal African behavior,

Normal African behavior, what's the problem?

lovingmom
0
Points
lovingmom 05/03/08 - 08:25 am
0
0
If I'm not mistaken, no one

If I'm not mistaken, no one has enough facts to judge this man. I don't know him and I'm not from this area, but I do know, students have been known to make up "stories" to get what they want. If Mr. Shelton is proven guilty, then charge him with the crime and then sentence him, but not without proving his guilt. This is one of the reasons we are short on teachers, any student can make a false accusation and they are believed.

christian134
1
Points
christian134 05/03/08 - 08:29 am
0
0
Hypo come up with another

Hypo come up with another word when calling names....Something with a little more class.....:-)

dani
12
Points
dani 05/03/08 - 08:40 am
0
0
lovingmom, Did you read the

lovingmom, Did you read the article before posting your comment? There is much more to the complaint than a student making an accusation.

BROOKLYNGIRL
0
Points
BROOKLYNGIRL 05/03/08 - 08:47 am
0
0
There are two sides to every

There are two sides to every story. it was not one time. and it was wrong the first time. There is a time limit for crying rape.

christian134
1
Points
christian134 05/03/08 - 08:50 am
0
0
Hypo the only reason I can

Hypo the only reason I can come up with for your constant monitering of my comments is that you have nothing better to do or you are having a what?....bad day...You must do what you wanted me to do and that is "If I do not address you personally back down"....How about that?...Good for you....However I am bored so go play in someone else's playpen and try to use larger words when it comes to name calling.....Have a great day...:-)

dani
12
Points
dani 05/03/08 - 08:57 am
0
0
I could remark on the

I could remark on the suggestive dance moves these students are taught and allowed (by their parents!) to do, but that is for another day.

Bizarro
13
Points
Bizarro 05/03/08 - 09:02 am
0
0
For a 16 year old there is no

For a 16 year old there is no time limit to cry foul. Even if it were consensual this supposed "man" is still a predator. Nice lookin guy so perhaps like the good lookin women who sleep with their students he will get off lightly. Too bad, if he was ugly they would have already shot him or just sent him to prison. Oh wait, don't tell me this is one of those cultural things we white folks don't understand-like Rev. Wright. I noted many posters didn't have a problem with the polygamist so this is probably no foul. Afterall these teachers don't make much money and this must be a perk. Perhaps all these girls are making it up to "get" a teacher so it could be a false accussation, but if it ain't remove his manhood and send the eunuch to prison. UhOh, this could be another black man added to the disproportionate population of blacks in prison because of white man oppression and slavery. It is not his fault if he is guilty, and we can't send him to prison because it will look bad to have too many blacks in prison. Why do you friggin morons always make it about race-it is about sex (universal amongst all races).

WHATDIDIDO
0
Points
WHATDIDIDO 05/03/08 - 09:04 am
0
1
Christian, you are seeing

Christian, you are seeing black people every where. First of all on this topic I directed my comments toward Mayhem and guess who chimed in at 8:29 am? You have a habit of commenting on my post, so you dang right I will comment on yours, especially when you bypass posts by mayhem and his ilk that are obviously racist in nature just to comment on mines. Just to make it clear one more time, I do not have bad days and I will not give people like you that kind of power over me to begin with. When I see comments like mayhem, I will respond in a forceful way. If you do not like it, TOUGH.

BROOKLYNGIRL
0
Points
BROOKLYNGIRL 05/03/08 - 09:17 am
0
0
Unlike the 11 year girl being

Unlike the 11 year girl being held captive for 24 years.
My point being the kidnapped girl was being held against her will. The girl from Butler HS was was released from her capture everyday and returned eight more times of her own free will for BAND INSTRUCTION.!!!

Bizarro
13
Points
Bizarro 05/03/08 - 09:38 am
0
0
You don't know much about

You don't know much about psychological manipulation do you Brooklyngirl.

BROOKLYNGIRL
0
Points
BROOKLYNGIRL 05/03/08 - 09:51 am
0
0
action > reaction

action > reaction

christian134
1
Points
christian134 05/03/08 - 09:59 am
0
0
The lack of morals is one

The lack of morals is one that is not new to our school systems or in this present generation...It has been ongoing since the beginning of time....The horror of it all is that "entertainment" has given the sex act whole new meaning...It is wholesale sex without any consequences.....This "teacher" if proven guilty needs to face prison time but the girl need to accept some of the blame because of the lack of morals on her part...Many of the kids today are having sex just to have sex....kinda like breathing....or maybe like an item each day on a 'to do' list....Wake up, have breakfast, have sex, get homework, get on bus, have sex, go to classes, have sex....seems to be a theme....One thing for sure sex is an obession that cross all lines of cultures...The one problem I do have with band leaders are the cheerleaders and the bandmembers who are taught to dance like they are having sex standing up.....It is little wonder that the molesters are coming out of the woodwork and that girls are being taken advantage of..The lack of moral education is seriously lacking....

ladie
1
Points
ladie 05/03/08 - 10:07 am
0
0
first of all why didn't the

first of all why didn't the parents of all the kids meet at the school to pick up their kids after these games and bring them to the school before leaving for the out of town games? secondly what happens to the custodians at butler ?? they are at just as much fault too, don't they have to set a security alarm on the building b/4 leaving at the end of day?? i know when the custodians leave for the evening the ''head custodian is to make sure the building is secured!! meaning alarm system on'' as well as all doors being locked so why was this not being done ? so if the princible didn't know of this then the head or all the custodians knew and should be fired as well b/c this could have bought worst harm to ther kids that were sleeping around known convicts!!! as for the mother who claims she seen the kids all in one room she should have been bought this to the board of ed attention on why these kids are sleeping on floors and desk instead of coming home showering like the teacher did and return to the school early the next day for their schdule trip, so where was the bus driver ? was he/she there as well sleeping too? if so he/she needs to be fired to for not reporting it.

BROOKLYNGIRL
0
Points
BROOKLYNGIRL 05/03/08 - 10:08 am
0
0
Christain. Thats the bottom

Christain. Thats the bottom line'

I4PUTT
5
Points
I4PUTT 05/03/08 - 10:15 am
0
0
Who here is African? What

Who here is African? What does African American really mean? This is classic racial profiling. If she's black , she must be from Africa. I really don't know where all of my ancestors came from. None of us do. I've truly done lots of genealogical tracking of my family history. But, based on poor records, absent periods, choices made about which lines to follow, who knows? I'm not black, although I'm sure if you Trace it back far enough, there is some black ancestry in all of us. If I were black, I would find the label African American offensive.

I4PUTT
5
Points
I4PUTT 05/03/08 - 10:19 am
0
0
Having said all of

Having said all of that...This is another example of how bad schools are run. Back ground checks and constant monitoring are necessary to protect our beautiful children against predators and the child's own inability to make good choices.

BROOKLYNGIRL
0
Points
BROOKLYNGIRL 05/03/08 - 10:34 am
0
0
we can talk about this all

we can talk about this all day without end, we march on every cause but the one at hand, lets band together as parents, to guide our children and aid the teachers in doing a job thats rightfully the parents responsibly I am willing to form a group of mothers and march on our schools 30906

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 05/03/08 - 10:36 am
0
0
Standing before reporters and

Standing before reporters and owning up to problems in his organization takes a leader. THANK GOD that the Richmond County School System has one in Dr. Dana Bedden- Philly's loss is Augusta's gain! We haven't have seen Roy Rollins, Grover Oellerich, John Strelec, Charles Larke or Pete Fletcher do it.

i.b.e.w..electric
0
Points
i.b.e.w..electric 05/03/08 - 10:45 am
0
0
morning all.this is what i

morning all.this is what i was talking about the other day when i told yall about my friend whos stepdaughter accused him of molesting her then told the courts four years later that she made it up to get back at him.even though he has been released from prison and his record cleared ,his life is still ruined.what punishment did she recieve for this,not a damn thing.what im saying is dont be to quick to convict this man ,which it already sounds like alot of you have.im not saying that if he did this it is ok, even though age of consent in ga. is 16,its still no mexcuse for his actions if he is indeed guilty.BUT WHAT ABOUT HER,anybody else besides me feel like she should also be punished,doesnt sound like she was raped or forced to do anything against her will.these young girls nowdays know exactly what they are doing ,(the days of sugar and spice and everything nice are gone forever).they can have sex with whoever they want and no matter what happens to the guy ,the girls can just walk away and its not right.

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