A former Baldwin County public school substitute teacher pleaded guilty Thursday to having sex with a student under the age of 19. According to court documents, 25-year-old Jeremy Michael Sparks received a five-year prison sentence, which was suspended in favor of probation.
The sentence also requires Sparks to remain in custody at the Baldwin County Corrections Center until he complies with the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). Further, he is prohibited from initiating contact with the victim, who authorities said was a 15-year-old female and student at Robertsdale High School at the time the crime was initially reported in 2017.
After a grand jury indictment in May 2018, Sparks initially pleaded not guilty to the charge, along with two counts of sodomy and one count of second degree sex abuse. With Thursday’s guilty plea, the other charges were dismissed. Judge Scott Taylor presided over the case.
Sparks, who had no prior felonies on his record, was facing two to 20 years in prison, according to sentencing guidelines. He was represented by attorney John Beck.
Baldwin County Schools Director of Communication Terry Wilhite did not elaborate on the case or Sparks’ employment with the county, but said “all employment has to be preceded by a clear criminal background check; however, a clear criminal background check is not a predictor of future activity.”
The Baldwin County Board of Education recently adopted an updated policy manual that includes prohibitions against sexual harassment or violence and provides reporting and investigating guidelines.
A request for comment from Baldwin County District Attorney Bob Wilters is pending. This story will be updated if received. Sparks’ last listed address is in the Lake Forest subdivision in Daphne.
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