A former Gwinnett County band director pleads guilty to 21 counts involving sex with four students.
With his mother openly weeping in the courtroom, 45-year-old Villie Jones entered guilty pleas to 20 counts and an Alford plea to another—maintaining his innocence although admitting there was enough evidence to find him guilty.
The incidents with the four students occurred mostly at South Gwinnett High School from 2014 to 2017.
“I had a poor lapse of judgment,” Jones told the court. “I want to apologize to the families, to Gwinnett County Schools, to the state.”
His attorney, Don Geary, told the judge the encounters were all consensual albeit illegal.
“This was at least mutual, if not some of them initiated by the students,” he says.
But Gwinnett Assistant District Attorney Matt Acoff maintains Jones took advantage of the students.
“Regardless of whether you want to call it consensual or not, it certainly affects those victims. I’ve seen it firsthand and it’s not something they should be dealing with,” he says.
Jones will serve 10 years in prison and 20 years on probation. He could have faced 500 years in prison if convicted on all 21 counts. He must also perform 1,000 hours of community service, never step foot in a Gwinnett County school again, and register as a sex offender.