COVINGTON, Ga. — A former Newton County middle school teacher who had served as a teen’s mentor pleaded guilty Thursday to an internet porn charge related to his request that the boy videotape himself for the man's pleasure.
Former seventh-grade math teacher Winfred Akins, 48, of Covington, pleaded guilty to one felony count of Obscene Internet Contact with a Child in a negotiated plea in Newton County Superior Court Thursday, June 24.
Judge Layla Zon accepted the plea and sentenced Akins to 10 years, with the first three in confinement and the remainder on probation.
“There’s something wrong with an individual who would prey upon innocent young men,” Zon told Akins during the hearing.
She told Akins he would be classified as a sex offender and ordered him not to have contact with children under age 16.
The judge also said she did not want him to go “off the radar” if he moved from his Henry County home.
She ordered Akins to notify Newton County Superior Court if he changed residences because of her concerns he would become involved with a new group of youths as he went through the “bureaucracy” of linking with a new probation officer.
“I don’t trust you around children,” Zon said.
The judge also allowed the boy’s mother to read a victim impact statement Thursday.
She said she had trusted Akins enough to allow him to mentor her 14-year-old son. He had visited her church and told an audience during a public event the boy was an “inspiration” to others, she said.
“And ‘blah, blah, blah’ and all the other jibberish,” she said. “Not knowing the day I asked you to mentor my son would be a day I would regret.”
She said she now has a strained relationship with her son.
The woman said she is a single mother and endured physical ailments from the mental anguish she went through for allowing Akins access to her son.
“The defendant convinced my son he had no one to turn to,” she said.
The ailment also kept her from working at times, despite being a sole provider for her family.
Akins declined to speak.
Zon noted prosecutors had said the 14-year-old victim had found it odd that he was being asked to share images of himself with his teacher.
“I think that the mother’s words summarized just a small part of the damage you’ve done in the community,” Zon told Akins.
Akins had worked in two counties as a teacher and had "years of direct involvement" with young students before working in Newton County, said Assistant District Attorney Alex Stone during a September bond hearing.
She said Akins, who was married with two children, also had mentored a church youth group but was told to leave the job after he allegedly made advances toward a group member during a trip to Orlando, Florida.
He worked as a teacher at Liberty Middle School for two years and served as a step team coach and a student mentor.
The investigation into the charges began when the victim’s mother told a sheriff’s deputy on Aug. 11, 2020, that she had discovered her 14-year-old son received messages by phone from Akins in December 2019.
Akins had asked the boy to videotape himself committing a sex act so the suspect could watch it and tell him if he was doing it correctly, Stone said.
Stone said sheriff’s office investigators then secured a search warrant for Akins’ home Aug. 28, 2020, and seized electronic devices, including computers and cell phones.
They also seized a list of "multiple" names of potential victims, and a pencil case containing names and images on what appeared to be replicas of temporary driver’s licenses, Stone said.
After his Aug. 28 arrest, he resigned from his teaching job six days later after being charged with child molestation and computer pornography crimes.
Zon denied Akins’ request for a bond to be set during the September hearing because of his alleged actions to convince his wife to remove files from a cell phone that was part of the investigation.