0

School police say O'Neal 'slipped through the cracks'

Dougherty County School Police Assistant Chief J.C. Phillips held a news conference Friday to address the arrest of a volunteer at the South Georgia Regional School of Achievement on three counts of child molestation.

Dougherty County School Police Assistant Chief J.C. Phillips held a news conference Friday to address the arrest of a volunteer at the South Georgia Regional School of Achievement on three counts of child molestation.

ALBANY, Ga. — The Wednesday arrest of Grady Alexander O’Neal on charges of molesting a 14-year-old female student at South Georgia Regional Achievement Center, where he was known to visit students on a regular basis, has raised questions on how O'Neal, who school officials say has two previous statutory rape convictions, was allowed access to the school and its students.

photo

Grady Alexander ONeal

At a Friday news conference, Dougherty County School System Assistant Police Chief J.C. Phillips admitted a breakdown in the system had allowed O'Neal almost unfettered access to the students.

"(O'Neal) had access to the school for just over a month," adding that none of the alleged incidents had taken place on school property. "As policy we run extensive criminal background checks, when asked, on anyone who will have contact with the children. We're all human and this one slipped through the cracks."

When asked who is responsible for requesting the background checks, Phillips replied, "the building administrator."

In this case, that would be SGRAC Principal John I. Davis. When called Friday for comment, the call went to voicemail and Davis had not responded to a request for comment by presstime.

Earlier in the day. The Herald obtained an email from Dougherty County Schools Director of Public Information R.D. Harter sent late Wednesday to DCSS board members.

It reads:

"Chief (Troy) Conley just notified me by telephone 34-year-old school volunteer Grady O'Neal was arrested by DCSS police and booked into the Dougherty County jail at about 5:00 p.m. tonight.

"An on-going investigation following a complaint from a female student revealed that he had a large file of former criminal activity including two statutory rape convictions. He was charged with three counts on child molestation and more charges are pending.

"He didn't complete his required background check until yesterday and should not have been working with children. He volunteered at South Georgia Regional Achievement Center. "

Harter's e-mail conflicts with the official record at the Dougherty County Courthouse that shows only one guilty plea for a misdemeanor statutory rape charge. A judge sentenced O'Neal to serve 90 days in jail and nine months on probation in February 2001.

By pleading guilty to a misdemeanor count of statutory rape, O'Neal was able to avoid being placed on the state and federal sex offender registry.

O'Neal's official record also shows a conviction for aggravated stalking, a felony, after he violated a temporary protective order and visited his wife at her place of employment in 2005. For that, he was sentenced to serve five years on probation.

O'Neal is currently being held at the Dougherty County jail and no bond has been set.

Comments

VSU 12 months ago

Someone dropped the ball allowing this pervert to be with the students.

0

MRKIA 12 months ago

NOW THAT THEY HAVE THIS PERVERT IN CUSTODY I HOPE THAT THE COURTS WILL DO HIS A** IN. WITH ALL THE EVENTS THAT HAS HAPPENED IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND THE PUBLIC BEING FED UP WITH ATTACKS ON STUDENTS, I WOULD NOT WANT TO BE IN HIS SHOES. OFF WITH HIS HEAD!!!

0

KaosinAlbany 12 months ago

Heads are going to roll! This is uncalled for and whoever allowed this pervert should be fired immediately!!

2

Sister_Ruby 12 months ago

A relative maybe? Just wondering..........

0

KaosinAlbany 12 months ago

Are you asking if I am related to any of the parties? If so, no I am in no way related but the suspect could be a relative of someone at the school, perhaps.

0

Sister_Ruby 12 months ago

No it was not if you were related....it was about who might have allowed him up in there.

1

AuntieDee 12 months ago

Yes, and that someone needs to pay the price of dropping the ball along with the administrator for not checking on the paperwork.

0

Sister_Ruby 12 months ago

".....checking the paperwork" You feel the same way about the FRM paperwork? I thought not.

0

stc1993 11 months, 4 weeks ago

The good ole boy system let him in. Principal John I. Davis should be fired immediately for not checking his record or for not caring.

0

ObjectiveEyes 12 months ago

If this is true, someone's head has got to roll on this one. An absolute dereliction of duty. the local Little League does a better job of screening their volunteers. Sad.

2

Nous_Defions 12 months ago

Harter's e-mail conflicts with the official record at the Dougherty County Courthouse that show only one guilty plea for a misdemeanor statutory rape charge. A judge sentenced O'Neal to serve 90 days in jail and nine months on probation.

By pleading guilty to a misdemeanor count of statutory rape, O'Neal was able to avoid being placed on the state and federal sex offender registry.

Our anger and frustration should be directed towards this so called "Judge". "Judge" through the Law of Unintended Consequences you are indirectly responsible for the rape of this 14 yr. old child.

0

VSU 12 months ago

With that being said, rape is rape whether he pleads guilty or not, it should still be on his record. Pleading guilty doesn't erase the fact that he did it. Good thing they don't do that on cold blooded murder charges. Another example of judges being a big problem in todays society.This is why there is always continued crimes, because these stupid judges are too easy on these lawbreakers. They just slap their wrists, tell them not to do it again and then they are let back in society to continue their life of crime.

0

Abytaxpayer 12 months ago

Hope the Lawyer that got his Plea deal for reduced charges is Happy.

0

Nous_Defions 12 months ago

Will the Herald publish the name of the Judge, and please include the dates for the Felony Stalking and the Statutory Rape plea. Which one came first? Is there any way we can petition the State Bar to review the body of this Judges work?

0

Jacob 12 months ago

Just a thought.... It is not the sentencing judge who comes up with proposed plea agreements. There are two parties involved in the invention of that particular document. One is supposed to represent the interests of the accused, and the other is supposed to represent the interests of the public. Perhaps you all might consder directing your ire towards the one tasked with representing the public. Hint- its not the judge....

1

FryarTuk 12 months ago

Fact: the judge does not have to accept the plea agreement. Another fact: it is the judge and the prosecuting attorney.

0

bigbob 12 months ago

Taxpayers get your wallets out again. Here comes another easy to win lawsuit. DCSS is a complete joke. Is there one compitant person in charge there.

1

waltspecht 12 months ago

Crack heck, it had to be bigger than the Canyon over near Cuthbert for this guy to fall through it. An answer of we're all human shouldn't be enough, as this one had some interesting history that wasn't that hard to find. Accountability, I don't think who the responsible individual knows, who theyare related to, or how long they have worked for DCSS, they need to go just to set an example of what will no longer be tolerated.

1

Sister_Ruby 12 months ago

"In this case, that would be SGRAC Principal John I. Davis. When called Friday for comment, the call went to voicemail and Davis had not responded to a request for comment by presstime."

The next voice you hear will be from Mr. Davis's attorney. I'm sure "Jesus is his lawyer, but he's hired one of His disciples to represent him."

1

Roundman 12 months ago

I am always amazed at the answers from this bunch of ??? here. IS THERE NOT A RESPONSIBLE PERSON IN ALBANY GOVERNMENT?? JUST ONE --- COUNTY, CITY, SCHOOL BOARD, SCHOOL POLICE, PRINCIPALS, TEACHERS?? You do have at least one -- Mr. Moseley ---- but he is only one -- he can't do it all. Most school officials need to be cleaned out. --- FAST- WHAT'S NEXT ALBANY?? Harter-- you are way past your time to go ----

1

FryarTuk 12 months ago

Disgusting. Get rid of the DCSS police department now!

0

Terry.Lewis 12 months ago

This isn't the DCSSPD's fault ... It lies elsewhere.

1

FryarTuk 12 months ago

"Fault" isn't the issue it's "responsibility". Fault is after an incident occurs, "Responsibility" begins before as in who is responsible for keeping the children safe. The law enforcement responsibility would better reside with a county policing agency for numerous reasons, one is responsibility. DCSS is too small and the taxpaying base is too limited to support all the layers of law enforcement in this community.

0

Terry.Lewis 12 months ago

Actually, we are at the 'fault' stage. A background check was not requested when O'Neal began 'volunteering' at SGRAC. That is the principal's 'responsibility.'

0

FryarTuk 12 months ago

No question that anyone who has culpability here has to face accountability. Assuming that, my point transcends into the corrective and preventive considerations.

I have a significant problem when a chief of police dismissively explains the rape of a child with the remark: "We're all human and this one slipped through the cracks." As a citizen, that isn't what I want to hear about a sex offender who has just assaulted young adolescent girl. The child has a burden of repairing and healing that will be filled with anguish. The DoCo taxpayers will shell out another bundle for something that should have been prevented. That's where we need to head with the circumstances.

0

B4it 12 months ago

Fryar... did you see the squawk about 2 shootings and having 3 separate police divisions involved with the investigating? Either we have some incompetent investigators, or we need to combine some of these divisions.

0

FryarTuk 12 months ago

It's painfully obvious to most DoCo taxpayers that public safety in our community is woefully inadequate. The officers and their families have made a great commitment and I certainly do not hold them accountable for the chaotic organization of law enforcement. It is political fiefdoms that have been established and the basic attitude of the feudal lords is to hell with public safety, government function and fiscal accountability. The sources and resources are just too fragmented and reduplicated. Look at some examples where services are combined and how effective they are - Fire, EMS & Tax office. The Tax Office isn't my favorite department but you have to admit they are fiscally responsible administratively.

0

ittybittyme 12 months ago

Let the people in the "cracks"(those that don't work, receive food stamps, welfare, etc.)pay the lawyers and the money from the lawsuit!

0

DCSSTeacher 12 months ago

Be very careful in taking what JC Phillips has to say at face value. The badge can be deceptive and alluring. It's a well known fact in the DCSS that Phillips holds high ambitions and is using his current position to further his goals. He was speaking out of turn in throwing the SGRAC administrators under the bus and should have referred that comment to RD Harter or Tommy Coleman. Volunteers are cleared through Goseer's office via the DDCSSPD. The administrators should not have let this guy in the building without being cleared first, but Phillip's covering his superiors' rears here also.

John I. Davis has been rumored to be retiring anyway, so it is no skin off their nose to smear him on his way out the door. Kills two birds with one stone! Notice how he pointed us in that direction without specifically naming names. Pretty smooth...

0

RedEric 12 months ago

The background check is done when requested says Phillips. Later the story says the background check was completed yesterday. Who requested it and when? The pervert should have been kept away from campus until the check was completed. There is a lot of cracks in the story also. It is much easier to keep your story straight if you tell the truth. Which leads to..stupid people shouldn't try to lie.

1

bubbasmithredneck 12 months ago

Whats not being told is that schools use volunteers all the time for various duties in the schools. Some off campus at sporting events, proms, and all kinds of events. Many of whom never got background checks ever. The focus of this story should be on the individual who committed these crimes.

0

Terry.Lewis 12 months ago

Ignoring existent written policy is a big reason the district is in the shape it's in now.

1

bubbasmithredneck 12 months ago

True, but attempting to tarnish that head administrator is not the answer either. His intentions were good, but he just got tricked and fooled. Some teeth needs to be put in the existing policy and enforce it. Administrators have always encouraged parental involvement, and community involvement to help out in schools. However, mistakes were made, and the criminal is in jail. That's the most important fact.

0

FryarTuk 12 months ago

"True, but attempting to tarnish that head administrator is not the answer either. His intentions were good, but he just got tricked and fooled." But that is not an excuse. It may be the reason. But it is no excuse.

0

FryarTuk 12 months ago

Bubbaneck said: "True, but attempting to tarnish that head administrator is not the answer either." Sounds like a pass to me. Holding him accountable is part of the process. In other words, he didn't do his job. "Tarnish" "probation" "termination" is part of the equation of accountability. When the parents of this child get a lawyer and start to file claims do you think they will not hold this man and the DCSS accountable?

0

bubbasmithredneck 12 months ago

Terry is the one giving the criminal a pass by not focusing on him enough. He is one the facing jail time for his crimes.He is the one who is more wrong than anybody!! Its like what the criminal did is ok as long as he helps Terry look good in attacking the DCSS again.....

0

Jacob 12 months ago

From your perspective, its like whatever DCSS does is fine, as long as you are able to point the finger at someone else. Sure, the pervert is liable, criminally, but open your mind for just a second and take off your victim shaded racist glasses. If the school officials had simply followed the existing policy, the child doesn't get molested. Damn, man, think how you would feel if it were your child. Do you think you would feel a skin color apologist kinship in that case? You know damn well you would be hollering for blood. The blood of the idiot that exposed your child to the perverted whims of the predator that they allowed to prey on the kids.

0

bubbasmithredneck 12 months ago

this has nothing to do with color......what are you talking about?

0

Terry.Lewis 12 months ago

Follow policy and this story never gets written. Period.

1

FryarTuk 12 months ago

Bubbaneck said: "Terry is the one giving the criminal a pass . . . " You and I weren't interfacing about Terry's remarks. We were discussing your statement that the principal shouldn't be "tarnished" by his failure to protect the safety of the students. If the school system is to be reformed accountability up and down the line will have to be maintained. Raping a 14 year old child is not the incident to describe accountability with terms such as "tarnish" or "slipping through the crack." Those are descriptions used for the failure to pay a parking ticket.

0

FryarTuk 12 months ago

DCSS Teacher writes: "Volunteers are cleared through Goseer's office via the DDCSSPD." Is this true? Did J C Phillips misinform the AH regarding the starting point of responsibility for background clearance?

0

bubbasmithredneck 12 months ago

this incident did not happen on school grounds ....

0

MRKIA 11 months, 4 weeks ago

OH YEAH, THAT MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE.

0

buddyallen 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Statuatory rape implies the "victim" was willing.Mr O'neal is still a preditor and belongs behind bars,but the morals of so many young ladies encourage the crime.Both are guilty,as well as our society.

0

Jacob 11 months, 4 weeks ago

"the morals of so many young ladies encourage the crime.Both are guilty"

Wow.... Next time you get a thought, let it pass. At minimum, don't put it to print. You will look less foolish.

0

FryarTuk 11 months, 4 weeks ago

bud, no 14 year old child can be willing to be raped. If the child is dressed and behaves seductively and has all kinds of come hither expressions the child is still jail quail, verboten. No excuse! None! If you ever get the urge to taste of the forbidden fruit run away, quickly, tarry not. Don't even allow that moment of longing reach your loins with the devil's entreaty that the child wants it and is guilty too. When you are found guilty and go to prison, do you know what will happen to you there? Not pretty. As Nancy Reagan said about drugs, "just say no."

0

Bulldawg 11 months, 4 weeks ago

What, you need to read the georgia law for statuatory rape again. Your comment is just flat wrong.

0

MRKIA 11 months, 4 weeks ago

YOU SIR, ARE A MORON. SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP. A LOBOTOMY WOULD IMPROVE YOUR IQ.

0

Sign in to comment