Former Fitzgerald band director pleads guilty to 9 sex offenses

Former Fitzgerald band director pleads guilty to 9 sex offenses
No sentencing date was announced, said D. A. Brad Rigby.

FITZGERALD, Ga. (WALB) - Jonathan Kelly, the former high school band director in Fitzgerald, pleaded guilty Monday after he was indicted on several sex charges in May, according to District Attorney Brad Rigby.

Kelly pleaded guilty to nine counts of sexual assault against a person over whom he had supervisory custody.

The former band director was sentenced to 15 years in prison followed by 15 years on probation.

Prosecutors said Kelly “engaged in various repeated sexual acts with two different students, with those acts occurring both on- and off-campus.”

Case background:

Kelly faced one count of aggravated child molestation and nine counts of sexual assault of a student.

The indictment charged that two former students of Fitzgerald High were involved in sexual relations with Kelly and that he would have known the victims were students of the school.

The incidents occurred between 2013 and 2017, with no specific date being known to the court of when the incidents took place.

Kelly was arrested on May 23, originally charged with aggravated sodomy against one victim.

At the time, Kelly had already accepted a contract at Worth County High School to become its new band director following his 2018-2019 academic year at Fitzgerald High. However, after his arrest, Worth County withdrew the contract and hired Johnny Hallman instead.

On May 28, WALB learned that another victim had come forward and Kelly was charged with aggravated sodomy and sexual assault involving a minor against the first victim. Officials said that with a second victim coming forward, Kelly was expected to face even more charges in this case.

Kelly was later charged with additional aggravated sodomy and sexual assault charges after the second victim came forward.

In a court hearing, Kelly was denied bond in June.

He was also indicted by a Ben Hill County grand jury in June.

*** WARNING: Below is a copy of the indictments against Kelly. The content in this document is very graphic and may be too disturbing for some. Discretion is advised. Names and information have been redacted to protect those involved in this case. ***

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