A former assistant coach charged with sexual misconduct with a high school student in April pleaded guilty to the charge Tuesday.
Bulloch County Superior Court Judge William Woodrum sentenced Jeffrey Tyler Crowder, 25, of Mike-Ann Drive, to serve 15 months in a probation detention center, 10 years of probation and $3,000 plus surcharges in fines, said Daphne Totten, the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney who prosecuted the case.
Crowder must also never have contact with the victim, is banished from the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit, must undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation and comply with treatment recommendations, and register as a convicted sex offender, following sex offender guidelines for the duration of his sentence, she said.
Crowder was charged in April with sexual assault by a person of authority after having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 16-year-old female Statesboro High School student. He was an assistant girls soccer coach when he was arrested.
In June, a police investigator testified that Crowder admitted having sex with more than one teen and contacted teenage girls even after being confronted by Dr. Marty Waters, then the Statesboro High principal, about the accusations.
Waters was arrested in May on a misdemeanor charge that he failed to report sexual abuse of a child in a timely manner in connection to Crowder's case. He resigned after Bulloch County Board of Education members voted on a slate of contract renewals for principals that did not include Waters. After seeking a jury trial in state court, Waters' case was dismissed in January because of insufficient evidence needed to convict, State Court Solicitor Joseph Cowart said.
In June, Statesboro police Detective Sgt. James Winskey testified that Crowder admitted having inappropriate relations with at least two more teenage females in his home.
He testified that Crowder admitted "hooking up" with one victim "three or four times" and said he contacted students via Twitter, text and Facebook. Crowder told investigators he met several teenage students at bars near the Georgia Southern University campus and entertained students in his home, Winskey said.
Police questioned seven female students who said they had all been inappropriately contacted by Crowder either in a social setting or via social media, as well as an eighth girl who graduated in 2013 who said she and Crowder had a sexual affair while she was a student, Winskey told the court.
During the investigation, Crowder "basically said he may have a problem" with "uncontrollable impulses" when he was around attractive females, Winskey testified.
When Crowder's attorney Troy Marsh questioned Winskey during the June hearing, the detective testified that Crowder was "worried" during the times he was involved with students, and that while he thought he might be fired if the illicit relationships were discovered, he felt that because he was a paraprofessional and not a certified teacher, he would not be arrested.
Statesboro police are also investigating a separate case involving sexual misconduct by another former high school assistant coach with a different teenage female student April 24 when they learned of Crowder's involvement with a student, who was 16 at the time. Crowder was arrested at the school April 30.
Luke Edward Parks, 26, of Jesup, was also arrested in April, but has not yet been indicted on charges of felony sexual exploitation of children and sexual assault. His case is not linked to Crowder's, police said.
Totten said Crowder asked to issue a statement during sentencing Tuesday.
"I want to apologize to the victim and her family," he said. "I also want to apologize to the faculty and staff of Statesboro High School and to the students and the parents of the students that I taught or coached while employed at Statesboro High School."
Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.