Former teacher admits to soliciting 12-year-old for sex; avoids prison

Image by Flickr user Steve Rhodes

Although he admitted to asking a 12-year-old female student for sex, former First Baptist Church School teacher and coach Charles "DJ" Fishburne Rhodes III won't be required to register as a sex offender--and won't serve time in prison.

This is one of the most messed-up, sad stories that have surfaced in this area in quite some time.

Rhodes admitted to propositioning a female student (and one of her friends) for sex via text message and was charged with criminal solicitation of a minor. Rhodes pled guilty to a lesser charge--unlawful conduct--in order to avoid a trial.

Just weeks after the solicitation occurred, Rhodes' wife gave birth to a child who was severely handicapped. Perhaps because of this circumstance, a judge determined that sending Rhodes to jail would punish the family the most; Rhodes was instead sentenced to 30 days of community service and two years of probation. He must also complete sex-offender treatment, and his name will be added to the registry for child abuse and neglect.

I feel awful for Rhodes' wife (even though she appealed to the judge to have her husband kept home) and two children, and particularly for the 12-year-old girl (and her friend), who was so affected by the solicitation that she couldn't bring herself to testify against Rhodes.

But Rhodes isn't on the sex offender list? Really? I find this inexcusable and extremely frustrating, especially since there are so many on the sex offender list for lesser acts--urinating in public comes to mind.

Form your own opinion by getting fully informed; The Post and Courier has a great in-depth report here.

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