Hinesville City Manager Kenneth Howard and six other men were indicted last week in the Fort Valley sex scandal, according to a news release dated April 5, from the office of K. David Cooke, Jr., district attorney with the Macon Judicial Circuit.
"An indictment was returned this week charging seven defendants in
a Peach County prostitution case," the release reads. "The case is a
result of a nearly year-long investigation into illegal conduct related to Fort
Valley State University."
The release emphasized that Howard and the other defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.
Howard is 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.
Former Fort Valley State University executive assistant to the president Alecia Jeanetta Johnson, 49, of Fort Valley, is charged with six counts of prostitution, three counts of pimping and two counts of solicitation of sodomy on allegations she performed sex acts in exchange for money and arranged to provide another prostitute for the men, according to the release.
The City of Hinesville released a statement regarding the indictment against Howard:
"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.
The city confirmed that the council has not called a special called meeting to discuss the issue.
"The mayor and council look forward to their continued work with Mr. Howard to improve the lives of Hinesville’s residents, and trust that the judicial system will resolve this matter without significant delay," the official statement concluded.
The Courier will continue to follow this story.