Bail set for band director accused of statutory rape

UPDATE 3/25/14: Superior Court Judge Jay Stewart set bail for James Ray Clark, according to Darien Police Department Lt. Nick Roundtree.

Clark's bail is $50,000 cash for each count, or a $100,000 property bond, Roundtree said.

Original story from March 13 below:

DARIEN, Ga. -- A Glynn County school band director living in Darien was arrested Wednesday on charges of aggravated child molestation and criminal attempt to commit statutory rape.

An investigation into James Ray Clark, 48, was launched by the Darien Police Department when a victim came forward to report abuse that took place in the early 2000s, according to a release from DPD Chief of Police Donnie Howard.

The victim told police that they were concerned because Clark is now working as a band director at Jane Macon Middle School in Glynn County. That victim also told police that the alleged abuse took place while Clark was working as a Youth Minister in Loganville, Ga.

DPD continued its investigation with the help of the McIntosh County Sheriff's Office and the Glynn County Schools Police Department. During the investigation, another victim came forward and alleged that they were sexually assaulted by Clark in the early 1990s, the release detailed.

In addition to his current role as band director at Jane Macon Middle, Clark has also served as a band director in Liberty and McIntosh counties over the past 25 years.

He has also been involved in youth ministry in Chatham, McIntosh and Glynn counties, as well as Ft. Myers, Fla.

The Glynn County School District says Clark resigned Tuesday after he was confronted by law enforcement.

On Thursday letters were sent home to parents.

"She told us that he would not be coming back to the school and gave us the letter," said Skyler Segui, an eighth grader at Jane Macon Middle School.

Segui said she's had Clark as a band teacher for a year and a half. She's been playing the flute for three years and and Mr. Clark was a good teacher.

Reporter: "What was it like in school today, were a lot of people talking about it?

"Yeah, and a lot of people were crying," answered Segui.

Glynn County Schools say Clark was a band director at Jane Macon Middle School for 10 years and also served as an assistant band director at Brunswick High School in that time. Segui's mother is shocked over the allegations.

"Scared for all the kids you know, that's awful. I couldn't imagine. I talked to her, she swears nothing, he's never been that way with her," said Tiffany Segui, Skyler's mother.

Law enforcement said he's been a band director in three different counties in that last 25 years and was involved with youth ministry in several cities, one being Loganville, Ga where the first allegation came from.

"I was asking her 'has he ever talked to you?' she was like, 'he seemed okay, but you just never know,'" said Shavonda Douglas, as she described the questions she asked her seventh grader after learning about the arrest.

Parents were in just as much shock as Clark's neighbors in Darien, about 20 minutes away from the school.

"Talk about a shock. He was a good neighbor, kept to himself, didn't bother nobody," said Gene Essex, who lives next door to Clark, according to the address provided by police.

The Essex couple said they don't believe Clark was living with anyone.

"He raises snakes. He says he has been ever since he was a little kid," said Essex.

Law enforcement will continue the investigation to identify any other potential victims. Anyone with additional information is asked to call Investigator Tim Johnson or Lt. Nick Roundtree at (912) 437-6644.

Band activities will go on as scheduled and will continue under an interim band director for now. School counselors and members of the Glynn County Public Schools crisis response team will be available for any students or parents who have concerns or questions.


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