AMERICUS Ga. (WALB) - The Sumter Co. Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday that a former coach in the Sumter County School System was arrested Monday on several dozen charges related to sexual exploitation.
William P. Blue, 46, turned himself into the sheriff’s office at the jail on Monday. Sheriff Eric D. Bryant said the arrest was the result of a lengthy investigation.
Blue has been charged with 23 counts of sexual exploitation of children and 44 counts of electronically furnishing obscene material to a minor.
The sheriff said that Blue is awaiting a bond hearing.
Bryant said this has been a 2-month long investigation.
“We received a complaint early in January about possible inappropriate activity exchanged between the students and a teacher. The investigation initiated from that point,” said Sheriff Bryant.
Bryant said the investigation resulted in cellphone and social media information as well as subpoenas and interviews.
He said the complaint came from the victims’ parents.
According to Sumter County School Superintendent Dr. Torrance Choates, Blue was a special education teacher and a varsity assistant basketball coach at Americus-Sumter High School. He worked for the Sumter County School District for 14 and a half years and has now resigned.
“The Sumter County School District takes these allegations and charges of that nature very seriously,” said Choates.
Sherriff Bryant said this was an isolated incident and can confirm the victim was 16 years old.
“One of the things you want to assure parents this is not happening to other children in the community, but the message that we also send, if it’s happening, it will be investigated and prosecuted to the extent of the law,” said Sheriff Bryant.
Bryant said each charge in the case represents what the investigator found.
“Something inappropriate between him and the victim or some type of photograph or video that was inappropriate between him and the victim,” said the sheriff.
Bryant said the school was very cooperative and supportive throughout the investigation.
Sheriff Bryant said if anyone suspects their children could be a victim of a crime like this, then don’t hesitate to contact their school or law enforcement.
On Wednesday, the Dozier Law Firm confirmed to WALB that the law firm is representing an alleged victim of Blue. The press release said they “have been working closely with investigators throughout this process.”