The pandering and solicitation of sodomy misdemeanor charges brought against Hinesville City Manager Ken Howard and five other men in an alleged Fort Valley State University sex scandal are still pending, according to the Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office.
Howard was charged with solicitation of sodomy and two counts of pandering stemming from conduct alleged to have occurred in 2017 and 2018. Howard turned himself in Oct. 23, 2018, within the time frame granted by Cooke. Howard later bonded out at $3,500.
The Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s office issued a news release Monday, announcing that a Fort Valley woman pled guilty to her part in the prostituting of a Fort Valley University student and herself in 2017 and 2018.
“Alecia Jeanetta Johnson, 49, pleaded guilty to six counts of prostitution Monday in Peach County Superior Court as part of a plea agreement,” according to the release. “A judge sentenced her to serve five years on probation, pay a $1,000 fine and serve 180 days on house arrest.”
Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney K. David Cooke, said in a videotaped news conference that Johnson’s plea agreement is contingent on her truthful testimony in the trial for any and all of her co-defendants.
“I remind you that each defendant in a pending case is considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law,” Cooke said. “Due to the pending cases I am limited to what I can say today. But I’d like to make it clear that when we drafted this plea agreement we took into account the anguish, and embarrassment that this investigation caused Fort Valley State University, its students, faculty, staff and alumni and the community.”
Johnson was employed as an executive assistant to the president of FVSU at the time of her arrest in October 2018. Her arrest was the result of a lengthy investigation by the GBI with assistance from the Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office and participation from the Georgia Attorney General’s Office, according to the release.
“Ms. Johnson’s actions in exploiting this young woman cast FVSU in a negative light that the school and those who hold it dear certainly did not deserve,” Cooke said.
The city of Hinesville released the following statement in support of Howard in April:
"As previously released, Mr. Howard has earned the trust and confidence of the mayor and council based on his record of exemplary service to the City of Hinesville. The misdemeanor allegations against several prominent supporters of Fort Valley State University, including Mr. Howard, do not diminish this confidence."
The release reiterated the stance taken by Mayor Allen Brown and city council members, commenting that Howard can continue in his position, "pending final disposition of this matter so long as the affairs of the city are not adversely affected.”
"As these misdemeanor allegations do not involve workplace conduct and are unrelated to Mr. Howard’s job performance, the same statement is true today," the city's official statement continued.