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Serna sentenced to a year in jail
Dr. Juan Serna - photo by FILE
    Georgia Southern University associate professor Dr. Juan Serna, convicted in January of sexual and drug offenses against a former student, faces a year in jail.
    Bulloch County Superior Court Judge William Woodrum sentenced Serna, 46, to two concurrent sentences of 12 months each, and gave him a choice of whether to serve the time in the Bulloch County Jail or Bulloch County Correctional Institute, according to Sherri Akins, Bulloch County clerk of courts.
    After a three-day  trial, jurors deliberated for a total of four and a half hours before finding Serna innocent of the charge of aggravated sodomy, a felony, but guilty  of sexual battery, possession of a dangerous drug, and furnishing alcohol to underage persons, which are misdemeanors.
    During the trial the victim said Serna used  "Amsterdam Poppers," to  render him defenseless before forcing himself upon him.
    Serna told jurors the sexual encounter was consensual.
    Amsterdam poppers is a chemical labeled as amyl nitrate but tested by Georgia Bureau of Investigation chemists as alkyl nitrite, an illegal drug, to aid his advances towards the victim.
    The victim testified Serna waved the drug under his nose and it rendered him unable to speak and resist Serna's advances. Two other witnesses, who did not know the victim, testified Serna offered the same chemical to them in 2003,  and described similarities in the way Serna invited them to his home and showed them pornography in what they felt was an effort to have sex with them.
    The victim testified Serna did the same thing to him in 2005, months before a party April 28/29 when the sexual assault occurred.
    A third witness, also a former student, testified against Serna as well, describing events taking place in Costa Rica during a class trip.
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