published Friday, February 7th, 2014

Former Catoosa County band teacher faces molestation charges again

A former Catoosa County middle school band teacher is in jail after police say he molested an underage girl.

This is the second series of charges against Thomas Harold Blevins III, who was a Lakeview Middle School band teacher until he resigned in December 2012 when the initial charges were leveled.

Blevins, 30, turned himself in to the Catoosa County Jail on Wednesday after a grand jury indicted him on two counts of sexual assault, two counts of child molestation, one count of enticing a child for indecent purposes and one count of false imprisonment.

A woman answering Blevins' listed phone number declined to comment Thursday, but his attorney, Chris Townley, said the latest allegations come from a girl who says she was molested years ago. Prosecutors told Townley the girl only recently came forward to say she was a victim, though they did not say what compelled her to share her story now.

In December 2012, the Catoosa County Sheriff's Office arrested Blevins on allegations that he molested a former student who came back to campus. That teenage girl told investigators Blevins touched her genitals and that she performed oral sex, according to Times Free Press archives.

That case is slated for a jury trial in March, Catoosa County court records show.

On Thursday, Sheriff Gary Sisk said he didn't want to give too many details about Blevins' latest arrest because the case is pending. He said the victim in this case is not the same girl whose story led to Blevins' first arrest.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation Agent in Charge Greg Ramey said investigators found out about this second victim after the initial investigation began.

"All of this was occurring while he was a teacher," Ramey said. "I'm not exactly sure on the exact time frames."

Blevins began teaching at Lakeview Middle School in July 2007. But he came under fire in 2012 after he allegedly began texting who he thought was a 13-year-old student on the night of Thanksgiving. In fact, the girl's father was on the other end.

According to Times Free Press archives, the man originally thought the person on the other end was one of his daughters' classmates. Allegedly, Blevins asked if the girl wanted to cuddle. He told her she had pretty eyes and a cute nose.

"I'm just messing with you," he supposedly said. "You're too young."

Eventually, the man realized Blevins was a 29-year-old man. His daughter said the teacher must have gotten her number from the girl's Facebook page. After her parents complained, the Catoosa County Schools suspended Blevins. He resigned Dec. 4, 2012, and the next day another teenage girl said Blevins used to molest her.

This led to the first series of charges. On Thursday, Townley said the girl who received text messages on Thanksgiving is not involved in either case -- only the two girls who say he molested them.

Until the end of December, Atlanta-based attorney Scott King was representing Blevins. King also represented Tonya Craft, the schoolteacher who was acquitted of child molestation charges in 2010. But on Wednesday, Townley stepped in as Blevins' new lawyer.

"I'm just starting to gather details," he said. "But at this point Mr. Blevins says that he's not guilty."

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at tjett@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6476.

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