Thomas pleads not guilty in felony sex case
by Franklin Clark, Reporter -- fclark@cadizrecord.com
Aug 25, 2010 | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
An employee of the Trigg County School System that was arrested by the Kentucky State Police last Tuesday afternoon has plead not guilty.

According to a Kentucky State Police press release, David Neal Thomas, 38, of Lafayette Street in Cadiz, was arrested and charged with two counts of use of an electronic communications system to procure a minor to commit a sexual offense, which is a class D felony.

Thomas was lodged in Christian County Jail after being arrested and has since been released.

At an arraignment presided over by Trigg County District Judge James R. Redd III on Thursday, Thomas was given a public defender. Tuesday morning, Trigg County District Judge Jill Clark scheduled another hearing for 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 31.

At the Tuesday hearing, Thomas’s public defender wanted Clark to revoke the conditions that he not be able to use a computer and that he stay away from school property. Clark said that given the charges, revoking those con ditions didn’t make sense. Thomas is also to stay away from all minors.

Kentucky State Police began an investigation after being contacted by the juvenile’s mother about suspicious electronic messages sent to her daughter. Arrest warrants were served on Thomas after his vehicle was stopped on Main Street in Cadiz last Tuesday.

A search warrant was served at Thomas’ Lafayette Street home, where evidence – mostly computers and other electronics – was seized by detectives, according to the search warrant document.

KSP Spokesman and Trooper Dean Patterson said Thomas had been communicating over the Internet with the juvenile when she was 16 years old. She is now 17.

“In Kentucky, 16 is the age of consent ... but when you’re dealing with a computer, it’s 18,” Patterson said.

Trigg County School Superintendent Travis Hamby said Thomas has been the school’s district technology coordinator since 2007 and that he will be off-campus on suspension during the investigation,

Hamby also said the reported crimes didn’t happen at work and that Thomas didn’t work directly with students, adding that while the investigation has already started, it can’t be finished until he has access to Thomas.

According to the school release by Hamby, KSP said the activity of the suspected criminal does not involve other Trigg school employees or students. Thomas will remain off campus while school administrative personnel also conduct an investigation, according to the release.

KSP Lieutenant Jonathan Grant said, and Hamby confirmed, that the 17-year-old juvenile isn’t a student in the Trigg County School System. Hamby also said that no Trigg County students or employees are involved.

According to an affidavit from KSP Detective Michelle Kent, the 17-year-old’s mother found out last month that she had been having an inappropriate online relationship with Thomas since October 2009, although the two had never met face-to-face.

When the mother found some of the e-mails, she traced them back to Thomas, after which she contacted the authorities and stopped contact between the two, the affidavit stated.

Even after Thomas was told by the mother to stop contacting the juvenile, he continued to send her several on-line messages from mid-July to just a few days before his arrest, according to the affidavit.

The mother thinks Thomas used school computers to talk to the juvenile, according to the affidavit, which also states that the juvenile told Kent that Thomas wanted to meet her in person.
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