A judge ruled Friday that the state has enough evidence to pursue an aggravated sodomy charge against a former Rome High teacher accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old male student at the school.
Aggravated sodomy is the most serious charge levied against 27-year-old James Rodney Lee, who was present Friday for a bond and pre-trial hearing before Floyd County Superior Court Judge Jack Niedrach.
Lee is also charged with sexual assault against a person in custody, cruelty to children and sexual battery.
Defense attorney Christopher Twyman asked the court to dismiss the aggravated sodomy charge against the suspended teacher.
Twyman said there are two accounts of the teen’s testimony, both of which varied. The boy made the allegations of sodomy in a second interview only, the attorney argued.
However, Rome detective Stephanie Hill-Hudson testified that, with 17 years experience of investigating sexual assault crimes, victims often take their time before fully disclosing details.
She also said an unplugged Web camera in the classroom led investigators to the confiscation of Lee’s computers.
The investigation showed Lee had pictures of several male students not wearing shirts on his desktop computer, Hill-Hudson said.
“Some are former and some are now Rome High School students,” she said.
The desktop computer also had numerous close-up pictures of male sexual organs, but none of the images contained the face or other identifying features of the individual or individuals, police said.
Twyman asked Hill-Hudson if any of the pictures so far recovered are considered to be illegal. She replied they are not.
Niedrach granted Lee bail of $60,000 with multiple conditions after hearing testimony from friends, family members and colleagues. He was released from the Floyd County Jail late Friday.
He will be restricted to his home and cannot leave without the permission of the court. He also cannot have Internet access, is restricted from text messaging and cannot have any contact with any present or former student of Rome High School.
School officials learned about the alleged incident after the student in question reported it to a counselor on March 20, who then informed the administration. Prior to his suspension, Lee was a math teacher at the school.