The first-year science teacher fired from Spencer High School over allegations of sexual misconduct involving a student waived his preliminary hearing Friday in Columbus Recorder’s Court.
Represented by Columbus attorney Mark Shelnutt, Antonio Demonte Rainey pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault by persons with supervisory or disciplinary authority.
The accusation involved an 18-year-old male student, authorities said. Though the victim’s age makes him an adult, any sexual contact with a teacher still would be illegal because of the teacher’s authority over him.
Rainey is 31 years old. Judge Julius Hunter set his bond at $10,000, and sent the case to Muscogee Superior Court.
After the hearing, Shelnutt said he would not represent Rainey in future proceedings because he only stood in Friday for Rainey’s Macon, Ga., attorney, Charles Cox.
Shelnutt did not know the specifics of what Rainey was accused of doing: “I don’t have all of those details,” he said.
The Muscogee County School District in a news release Thursday said it learned of the allegations on Oct. 7. “Following an internal investigation, the teacher was recommended for termination and released from duty, effective October 10, 2018,” the district wrote.
The Georgia law prohibiting sexual contact between teachers and students states:
“A person who has supervisory or disciplinary authority over another individual commits sexual assault when that person is a teacher, principal, assistant principal, or other administrator of any school and engages in sexual contact with such other individual who the actor knew or should have known is enrolled at the same school; provided, however, that such contact shall not be prohibited when the actor is married to such other individual.”
The law also says, “Consent of the victim shall not be a defense to a prosecution under this code section.”
Anyone convicted can face one to 25 years in prison, according to the statute.