MONROE, Ga. — A former principal convicted of child molestation will be banned from Newton and Walton counties after a long prison sentence.
Harold William “Bill” George received a 20-year prison sentence Wednesday.
George, 59, was convicted of two counts of child molestation, two counts of enticing a child for indecent purposes and six counts of sexual battery.
Alcovy Circuit Superior Court Judge Eugene Benton sentenced George to 20 years in prison and 10 years’ probation.
All the charges were related to interactions he had with a teenage victim in 2014 and 2015.
George acted as a mentor figure for the victim, whom he met while he was the director of children’s ministries at The Orchard Church in Loganville. At several points, George took measurements of the victim’s biceps, chest, and thighs, allegedly to track muscle gained in a workout program, and touched the victims genitals during those measurements.
He also had the victim take off his clothes and massaged him, touching him in various private areas.
The victim said he felt violated and didn’t want the massage, but went along with it because he trusted George.
Before sentencing, the victim’s mother read a statement about how George had devastated her and her son’s lives and that she wanted him locked away.
She said she doubted George could ever be rehabilitated, and that the safest option was to keep him away from children forever.
George will be eligible for parole.
According to his lawyer, Eric Crawford, the parole board could consider George’s case after 13 to 18 years in prison.
Once released, however, George will still have 10 years’ probation.
Benton added numerous conditions to the probation, including a ban from Walton and Newton counties during the 10-year period and a ban on George interacting with children.
Crawford said he plans to appeal the verdict. He believes some of the evidence the prosecution used against George should have been ruled inadmissible in pre-trial hearings.
George spent 16 years in the Walton County School District before retiring in 2011 as the principal of Monroe Area High School.
George remained in the Walton County Detention Center as of Monday afternoon.