Deputy fired over ties to school investigation

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A Richmond County sheriff's deputy was fired Friday because of his involvement with an ongoing investigation into improper relations among Spirit Creek Middle School faculty and staff.

Deputy Ronnie V. Collins, 40, joined the sheriff's office in April after resigning from the Richmond County Board of Education, where he worked as a public safety officer, according to Sheriff Ronnie Strength.

The sheriff said the board's internal affairs investigators contacted him last week and that Deputy Collins was terminated because he was not truthful in his job interview.

"When he was interviewed down here for a job, he did not bring any of this up to us," Sheriff Strength said. "We did not feel it was in the best interest of this agency to have him working here in light of the ongoing investigation at the board of education."

The investigation is continuing into the improper relationships among members of Spirit Creek's faculty, staff and administration, Director of Public Information Louis Svehla said, confirming the relationships involves sex. An e-mail was sent to the school system a couple of weeks ago alleging employees had sex on campus last year.

Details of the allegations are still being investigated, he said, including whether the sex occurred during school hours, who was involved and who sent the e-mail.

"They obviously felt it was enough in the e-mail to warrant an investigation," Mr. Svehla said. "They really haven't given me any of the details."

Mr. Collins resigned his position as a school board public safety officer April 12. His letter of resignation stated he would be returning to the sheriff's office as an upward career move. The Augusta Chronicle requested Mr. Collins' school board personnel file.

The file, however, did not include letters of reprimand that should have been in there, Mr. Svehla said. He said the letters of reprimand are in a separate file in the school system's public safety office and were unavailable Friday.

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com.

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

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whynot2
5
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whynot2 10/11/08 - 06:50 am
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Why wasnt this investigation

Why wasnt this investigation found out during an employment background check?

HYPOCRITES 08
7
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HYPOCRITES 08 10/11/08 - 07:12 am
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That's a little shaky. I mean

That's a little shaky. I mean can you at least wait until the investigation is over? What if there was no wrong doing on his part? This should have been uncovered during his background check and polygraph examination.

JAndy
4
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JAndy 10/11/08 - 07:45 am
0
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The issue is he was being

The issue is he was being investigated for policy violations. He left before the investigation was complete and there was no mention of criminal activity. The only ones that stand to lose in the BOE investigation are the ones still employed. The issue of the investigation should not be a decision to terminate. Now if BOE had reason to pursue warrants then it becomes a criminal investigation and RCSO would have the right to terminate without question. Keeping that thought in mind I know of several RCSO employees that have been involved in criminal activity and investigated. Some for domestic violence issues and they are still employed. The only issue they have on Collins is not telling the whole truth. Collins you picked the wrong year! You should have waited until after the election.

concerned4
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concerned4 10/11/08 - 10:01 am
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Election or not; this was

Election or not; this was unfair to Mr. Collins. If a specific question was asked and answered, where is the problem? Everyone at RCSO would not have a job if they give all their dirty little secrets and I agree, he did nothing criminal and should NOT HAVE BEEN FIRED. Law suit???? THIS WAS WRONG, VERY WRONG.
The whole truth and nothing but the truth. What a joke....

concerned4
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concerned4 10/11/08 - 10:05 am
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I would like to know if Dep.

I would like to know if Dep. Collins was the center of the sex scandel or did he know and wanted out. There is a lot you are leaving out and maybe you should be fired. Now look me up as you normally do. Maybe he was afraid of loosing his job with the school system and got out before it got nasty.
What type of reprimands would be in his records at school. He is the inforcer.....

ICAREABOUTKIDS
0
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ICAREABOUTKIDS 10/11/08 - 10:09 am
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Please pray for the spouses

Please pray for the spouses and/or children of those adults decided not to honor their marriage vows.

kai@reasontostand.org
1
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kai@reasontostand.org 10/11/08 - 11:13 am
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"Please pray for the spouses

"Please pray for the spouses and/or children of those adults decided not to honor their marriage vows." Amen, seldom do selfish people like this take into consideration the years of pain and heartache one moment of pleasure not taken in the Creator's design will cause, often for generations to come.

a different drum
26
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a different drum 10/11/08 - 11:44 am
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I wonder if the Sheriff's

I wonder if the Sheriff's department went out and talked to the actual person that wrote the e-mail? In this day and age of computers -- e-mail accounts are not always safe. I don't put much stock in an e-mail communication -- unless I know who it came from. Even then if it seems unusual I will call and ask about it. I have gotten bogus e-mail from my bank and ebay trying to get my personal information. I called and ask about them -- they told me it was a scam. Is Spirit Creek a High school? High School students do pull pranks -- they did when I was in high school.

SMHwhatamessthisis
0
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SMHwhatamessthisis 10/11/08 - 11:48 am
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HMM WHY was'nt this on the

HMM WHY was'nt this on the news.good for him..now Sheriff Strength if we can get u to fire crooket cops that fast u will be ok....big rave to the SC Sheriff he's doing a great job and he just don't sit behind a desk he goes out and ride and see whats going on..

JohnQPublic
5
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JohnQPublic 10/11/08 - 02:37 pm
0
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What ever happened to the

What ever happened to the days when teachers actually had to have good moral character. Sex scandals, sleeping with children....good grief! And these are some (not all thankfully) of the folks we entrust our children with????? Some housecleaning is in order!

LadyJus
0
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LadyJus 10/11/08 - 04:52 pm
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SMHwhatamessthisis, the story

SMHwhatamessthisis, the story was on the 12:00, 5:00 and 6:00 news yesterday, as well as last night @ 11:00.

As It Is
2
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As It Is 10/11/08 - 05:08 pm
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First, you work at the

First, you work at the pleasure of the Sheriff who is an elected official and you are fully aware of that when you join the department. Second, Sheriff Strength could care less if it is an election year because no one is running against him. Third, he failed to be truthful in an interview or on his application, either of which are offenses that can legally result in immediate termination. Furthermore, being a School Public Safety Officer and even so much as having knowledge of this going on within your school and failing to act should result in immediate termination.

gettuffonjuvycrime
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gettuffonjuvycrime 10/11/08 - 07:26 pm
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DEY GOT A BOOM BOOM ROOM AT

DEY GOT A BOOM BOOM ROOM AT SPIRIT CREEK!!!! It was just a matter of showing which was the rifle and which was the gun...ONE IS FOR FIGHTING, ONE IS FOR FUN!!!!!! I am willing to bet that ex-deputy Collins will be the only one to take the brunt of this. The teachers/administrators involved will hide under the cloak of denial, just like Larke did with his refusal to tesitfy in the divorce trial of the lady who was to become his fiance. Just like Larke nothing will happen to them. You see if the teacher/administrator admits to sex during school time and/or on school property, they would lose their license. Denying it would cause the school system to prove it. If they cant prove it, then it did not happen!!!! If Collins told the truth about the liasons, then his account does not matter, because they will believe the Teacher/Administrator over a "lowly police officer". Like a older and wiser friend of mine told me a couple of weeks ago, "Dont dip your pen in the company ink well"!!!! Hope the sex was really excellent y'all, for all the trouble it is causing.

Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 10/11/08 - 08:31 pm
0
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KUDOS to the RCSS and the

KUDOS to the RCSS and the RCSD for cooperating in this investigation of possible sexual improprieties at Spirit Creek Middle School. We Richmond County taxpayers are lucky that our school superintendent and sheriff work together to ferret out criminal activities which undermine the learning climate at our schools. Do you agree, Lulu?

stillwaiting
0
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stillwaiting 10/11/08 - 09:52 pm
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Immoral...yes, STUPID...yes,

Immoral...yes, STUPID...yes, but I think that until the full investigation is over and done that it may be a little premature to fire him. I think that is goes along with a little something that we like to call "innocent until proven guilty.

Jillian
2
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Jillian 10/11/08 - 10:25 pm
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same story different name

same story different name with people I worked with. What happened? Pretty much nothing...the guy was allowed to resign and move to another job working with teenagers..no charges of statutory rape even though everyone knew that is exactly what it was...and no record to keep him from being hired elsewhere.

Criminal background checks are a joke when it comes to sexual crimes because most go unreported or if reported no action taken.

CoachBishop
0
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CoachBishop 10/11/08 - 11:02 pm
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What has this country come

What has this country come to...Remember innocent until proven guilty. We need to look at who this story will really hurt and be more responsible with the reporting of it. Remember children are listening, watching, and reading.

gettuffonjuvycrime
0
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gettuffonjuvycrime 10/11/08 - 11:12 pm
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RCSO does not give a flying

RCSO does not give a flying flip about the sexual escapades at Spirit Creek unless it involved children. The only reason they dealt with Collins because he was deputy. It was sex between adults No children were involved because the RCSO is not investigating. RCSS is investigating but a dollar to donuts, they are not going to let it go too far as they dont want the black eye by showing that their good ole boys & girls would do that sort of thing. Legal beagles are not going to let go to far. Think about this: if Collins spilled the beans about sexual escapades, is his accounts factual? If whoever he says he had sex with is named, why would he tell all and lie about it. His marriage is in jeopardy. He lost his job. What is he got to lose? His secret is now out. Put them all on a lie detector test. They are not pursuing criminal charges and so RCSS can order their employees to take one. But they won't. Again, Collins will not be believed by anyone at RCSS becasue he was a "lowly PSO" & RCSS dont give 2 shakes about PSO's. Also new word is that Collins arrested the RCSS Investigator's family member some time back, so their is a conflict there. Check that out RCSS.

raasheedleetawanmomood
0
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raasheedleetawanmomood 10/12/08 - 07:56 am
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I wanna teach at that school

I wanna teach at that school and join da 'club"!

cottoncandy16
28
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cottoncandy16 10/13/08 - 06:55 am
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Mr. Collins has been involved

Mr. Collins has been involved is alot of questionable decisions while with the board. From jacking up/slamming a pregnant girl against the wall, to making passs at girls at Butler when he worked there. This does not surprise me one bit. He had it coming.

abc123xyz
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abc123xyz 10/13/08 - 09:47 am
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Hey "gettuffonjuvycrime" -

Hey "gettuffonjuvycrime" - let's have some more details on the last comment about Collins arresting the RCSS investigator's family member. If that is true & the right people got those details, that could put a whole new spin on this story!!! Come on...spill the beans - you've got a captive audience.

3572
0
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3572 10/13/08 - 12:29 pm
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Cottoncandy16 i think they

Cottoncandy16 i think they need to investigate you for being the one that sent the email. Seems like you have a little out to get you in your email.

gettuffonjuvycrime
0
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gettuffonjuvycrime 10/13/08 - 11:02 pm
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As I am getting the details

As I am getting the details from his ex-fellow co-workers, I am not exactly sure of the details, but was at one of the schools he worked. Easy enough to check though. I think they only have two or three investigators there. If RCSS is going to investigate, it needs fair, and without conflict of interest. Cottoncandy mentioned Butler, so it may be there. Apparently CC has more information about the Collins ongoings at Butler since they are quick to produce those remarks.

abc123xyz
0
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abc123xyz 10/14/08 - 09:14 am
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Hey, again

Hey, again "gettuffonjuvycrime" - I know the right people to pass this on to, but I need more details! Wouldn't you like to dig around for me & solve this mystery? Think of the headline this story would make - and you would deserve ALL the credit! Not to mention the fact that "if" there really was a conflict, that investigator should have recused himself from that case in the first place. How about it???????

gettuffonjuvycrime
0
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gettuffonjuvycrime 10/14/08 - 05:22 pm
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The "right" people. How do

The "right" people. How do you know they can be trusted. I dont trust many, especially at RCSS, and I dont even work there.. I think that Bedden is just out to make a name so he can move on. He is same person who ordered a search of all Public Safety Officers Cars because it was "mentioned" that one (and that one did not get searched supposedly) may have an unauthoriized weapons in their patrol car. The search had administration going into men's wallets and womens purses. The search was done right there in front of the public. I drove by there that night and wondered what was going on. The next week, I found out. Someone got suspended a month for questioning it. Many of the employees dont trust "RIGHT PEOPLE". So Collins needs to make a formal complainant himself on this investigation. While he played the game and took his chances, he needs to make sure that every I was dotted and every T crossed. Have the right people call him, I am sure that with all that he has lost (Career, Marriage) it won't matter now . JUst make sure when you go to apply for a new job to disclose all the people you have had sex with so in case any investigation come from it, you dont get fired

abc123xyz
0
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abc123xyz 10/15/08 - 08:07 am
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I agree with you 100%, but to

I agree with you 100%, but to get the "right" people interested enough to do something about this, I at least need a little more information. At least give me a time frame of when & where Collins arrested the investigators family member - I'll find out the rest. That investigator is a smug s.o.b. & needs a big dose of humility. Why didn't Collins tell someone in the beginning that there were issues between him & the investigator? You say you don't work for the Board, but you hit every nail square on the head. And just who was the person who reportedly had the unauthorized weapons that sparked that ridiculous search? I have my own theory but I want to know if I'm right.

1941
4
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1941 10/15/08 - 08:49 am
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gettuffonjuvecrime, Don;t

gettuffonjuvecrime, Don;t give up the info!! AugustaMomomof2 sound like the Augusta Chronicle to me.!!!

corgimom
32500
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corgimom 10/15/08 - 09:50 am
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AugustaMomof2, why don't you

AugustaMomof2, why don't you try looking up arrest records, which by law are public record??? Don't your 2 children keep you busy enough, that you want to try to destroy somebody?? Sounds like you have personal issues with him and are out for blood, Ugh.

realistineducation
0
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realistineducation 10/15/08 - 11:49 am
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once again, our best in

once again, our best in uniform, good going richmond county

willistontownsc
55
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willistontownsc 10/15/08 - 12:52 pm
0
0
If I was working at the

If I was working at the Augusta-Richmond County Sheriff's office or the Augusta-Richmond County School Board, I would give each person working with or around children a lie detector test.

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