The Gwinnett County School System is facing a lawsuit from a sexual abuse victim. Her family claims school administrators knew that a teacher was having sex with students and didn't act.
Villie Jones was arrested last year for allegedly having sex with several of his female teenage students at South Gwinnett High School.
Now one of the victims has filed a federal lawsuit against the Gwinnett County Public Schools claiming they were "negligent and deliberately indifferent" when they learned about the sexual abuse.
"He began grooming and then sexually assaulting girl after girl after girl. There's four or five victims out there. "There was a lot of activity that took place on the school property, in the band room, in the uniform room, in his office and then off campus," said Attorney Melvin Hewitt, Jr.
Attorney Melvin Hewitt says Jones impregnated a student when he was a teacher in North Carolina, just before coming to Georgia.
"That's just unacceptable, totally unacceptable and i don't know why they would not have found that out from the previous school so it's just terrible to know," said parent Caroline Nierva.
Hewitt says he should've never been hired.
"Some of the blame has to be on the places where the stuff has happened in the past. for example, the north Carolina situation, where mr. Jones used to work," said Hewitt.
The lawsuit claims that one male student actually recorded Jones "wrestling, groping, and laying on top of female students and showed the video to administrators.
"Mr. Jones had an incident where he was suspended for an incident. They suspend him, they let him resign. They are part of the problem," said Hewitt.
Could this been prevented? I've been investigating Jones' record online.
There is a national database that shows teacher license revocation and suspension. Only two local districts subscribe to it, Atlanta Public Schools and Henry County Schools--not Gwinnett.
Currently, Jones teaching license in Georgia is revoked.
CBS46 asked Gwinnett County Public Schools to explain their background check practices when hiring teachers like Jones.
Communications Director Sloan Roach sent the following statement saying in part:
Teaching applicants "most recent supervisors are contacted, in writing and frequently by telephone, for a confidential reference. Certified copies of college transcripts are obtained. Certifications for the position also are checked along with whether there are any pending investigations against a certificate.
In addition, every applicant for a teaching position must submit to fingerprinting and a thorough criminal background check using a national criminal database. Our school district employs sound hiring practices and conducts thorough background checks of prospective employees and all hiring processes were conducted successfully in this case."
Hewitt alleges administrators were not responsible for the hiring process up to the investigation of the numerous claims against him at South Gwinnett. He ultimately resigned from the district in 2017.
"Mr. Jones had an incident where he was suspended for an incident," Hewitt said. "They suspend him, they let him resign. They are part of the problem. Yeah, he's the perpetrator, but there is a system that is set up that's letting this thing happen," he added.
Teacher license status is public record in Georgia and can be viewed on the Georgia Professional Standards Commission's website at: https://www.gapsc.com/.
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