RINGGOLD, Ga. -- Attorneys will make opening arguments this morning in the trial of Thomas Harold Blevins, a former Lakeview Middle School band director accused of molesting two underage girls.
Blevins faces six counts of sexual assault by a person in a position of authority, six counts of child molestation, two counts of enticing a child for indecent purposes, two counts of false imprisonment and one count of aggravated child molestation.
Blevins worked for Lakeview Middle School from 2007-12. According to Times Free Press archives, he lost his job around Thanksgiving 2012 after the parent of a 13-year-old female student told Blevins' bosses that the band director sent inappropriate text messages to his daughter.
The father said Blevins flirted with the girl. Blevins allegedly told her she had pretty eyes, a cute nose. He asked if she wanted to cuddle.
"I'm just messing with you," he wrote in a message, the girl's father said. "You're too young."
After Blevins resigned from the middle school, two girls told investigators the former teacher had inappropriately touched them.
One girl said she visited Lakeview Middle School after classes one day in 2010. She was 14 at the time, no longer a student at the school. She told investigators that Blevins touched her vagina and that she performed oral sex on him.
"I am outraged by Mr. Blevins' alleged behavior," Lakeview Middle School Principal Steve McClure stated in a news release at the time.
In February 2014, with Blevins already facing criminal charges for his alleged relationship with that girl, a second grand jury indicted him. A second female student had come forward, saying Blevins touched her inappropriately, too.
Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney Herbert "Buzz" Franklin and Blevins' lawyer, Chris Townley, selected a jury for the trial on Monday. The two sides spent about seven hours picking through a pool of candidates that filled the Catoosa County courtroom.
They asked people if they knew Blevins, or the members of the Catoosa County Sheriff's Office and Georgia Bureau of Investigation who worked this case. The lawyers also asked the prospective jurors whether they or any of their loved ones had ever been molested.
The two sides settled on 12 jurors and two alternates around 5 p.m. Monday. They will return this morning to hear Franklin's and Townley's opening arguments and the state's first testimonies.
"It's been a long day," Superior Court Judge Jon "Bo" Wood told the jurors. "But we got something accomplished."
Contact Staff Writer Tyler Jett at email@example.com or at 423-757-6476.