BREWTON, Ala. - A band director who just started a new job in Georgia appeared before a judge Friday on charges he had sex with several students at his former high school in Alabama.
Charges of sexual abuse, unlawful imprisonment and six criminal counts involving a teacher having sex with students have been filed against 32-year-old Jeffrey Lance Gainous in Brewton, about 65 miles northeast of Mobile. Two days after he was arrested in Georgia, Gainous spoke briefly to reporters Friday as he was escorted by police to the courthouse for a bond hearing.
"There's always more than one side to the story," Gainous said softly as reporters peppered him with questions. He declined to comment further.
Gainous worked for six years at T.R. Miller High School, and former students have since come forward to tell police they had sexual encounters with the band director both at the school and at his home, Brewton Police Chief Monte McGougin said. He told reporters Gainous has sexual contact over a three-year period with at least eight girls. The chief said authorities are investigating claims some girls were tied up and gagged.
"I understand some things came up about tying up some victims and stuff like that, but I'm not real sure on exactly that," McGougin told WALA-TV.
Gainous was arrested Wednesday in rural Thomasville, Georgia, where he started work less than two weeks ago as band director at Thomas County Central High School. School officials said Gainous resigned following his arrest.
Thomas County schools Superintendent Dusty Kornegay said no problems came up when school officials checked Gainous' references and ran a criminal background check on him.
"All of the information gathered was positive from both a personal and professional standpoint," Kornegay told the Thomasville Times-Enterprise.
Authorities returned Gainous to Alabama from Georgia on Thursday. A judge Friday set his bond at $350,000, WKRG-TV reported.
The Brewton police chief did not immediately return phone messages left at his office Friday by The Associated Press. An assistant to Escambia County District Attorney Stephen Billy said Friday the prosecutor was out of the office until Monday and would not be checking messages.
It was not immediately known if Gainous had hired a defense attorney.