With his signature Monday, Paulding County District Attorney Dick Donovan put the legal futures of 24 teens in the hands of Supervision Services Inc. Those teens, arrested last month in connection with the March 11 vandalism of East Paulding High School and surrounding areas, all chose to accept the deal Donovan offered them on April 13—enter a pre-trial diversion program in lieu of facing prosecution on charges of criminal interference with government property, a felony under Georgia Code 16-7-24.
The 24 teens’ acceptance of the deal means that unless any one of them break the terms of the agreement, Donovan’s office no longer has anything to do with the vandalism case.
“I just signed all of the [teens’] agreements on behalf of the DA’s office,” Donovan said Monday afternoon. “If they all do what they are supposed to do, we’re done.”
The major requirements of the pre-trial diversion program will have participants each performing 400 hours of community services at places approved by the pre-trial diversion supervisors, Supervision Services Inc. Participants are also jointly liable for paying the Paulding County School System’s clean-up costs, which was estimated at $7,500.
Each teen also will pay $720 in fees—a $300 administration fee to the county and $420 to cover 12 months of pre-trial diversion expenses.
Those who complete the program within 12 months will not have a felony on their record for the crime of criminal interference with government property; they will, however, still have an arrest record to their name. Should anyone break the terms of the agreement, they would likely face prosecution from Donovan’s office. Conviction of a criminal interference with government property charge carries a sentence of imprisonment for one to five years.
Donovan on Monday addressed rumors of the teens possibly being offered chances to earn credit for multiple hours of community service for each hour served in a specific place or on a specific job.
“I’ve never heard of that being done in Supervision Services; I’ve heard of that being done in the jail and places like that,” he said. “Someone did mention it to me today about it being done in some cases—I spoke with the lady with Supervision Services, and I told her that as far as I was concerned, 400 hours was 400 hours.
“When I say 400 hours, I mean 400 hours.”
The total aftermath of the March 11 vandalism that led to the teens’ agreement with the DA’s office saw school buildings spray-painted to include windows; some perpetrators also made it onto the school’s roof, which was also painted. Some of the paintings across the campus, in addition to “Senior” and “2012,” also included the text “YOLO” and “Musgrove is a [expletive]”—the latter message seemingly targeting Assistant Principal Greg Musgrove. In all, school district officials said clean-up of the damage to East Paulding High was estimated at $7,500.
You can keep up with the latest developments on this story and all the news in Dallas and Hiram by subscribing to our free daily newsletter, liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter. We also have apps for your Android or iPhone that can bring you news, our business listings, weather forecasts and more.