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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Former lawmaker charged with assault


By Alvin Benn
Special to the Advertiser

CAMDEN — Former state Rep. James Thomas was arrested Wednesday and charged with sexual abuse of a female student at Wilcox Central High School, where he is the principal.

Wilcox County District Attorney Michael Jackson said Wednesday afternoon that Thomas, 67, has been charged with a felony, which carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years on a conviction.

Thomas was arrested at the school Wednesday afternoon and was being booked at the Wilcox County Jail after being taken into custody, a spokeswoman with the sheriff’s department said.

Thomas, who was unavailable for comment Wednesday afternoon, has been principal of the high school for the past 21 years.

Jackson said other charges could be filed against Thomas in the coming days as the investigation proceeds.

“We are stunned and shocked by what has happened,” said school board member Donald McLeod. “He will be placed on administrative leave with pay while this matter is adjudicated.”

McLeod, an attorney in Camden, said he was notified of Thomas’ arrest earlier in the day. He said he was informed that a 17-year-old girl at the school reported the alleged sexual assault to her mother, who then contacted Wilcox County Sheriff Prince Arnold.

Thomas had represented House District 69 in the Legislature since 1982 until his defeat in the Democratic primary in June. He lost his bid for re-election to David Colston of Lowndes County.

The House district encompasses the counties of Autauga, Dallas, Lowndes and Wilcox.

http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/article/20101117/NEWS/101117025/Camden-principal-charged-with-sexual-abuse-of-student

-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen

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South Union Street is the blog of Montgomery Advertiser political reporters Markeshia Ricks and Sebastian Kitchen. Always check here for the latest on the Legislature, elections and other activities and players in Alabama.

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