COURT OF CONVICTION:Charleston County, 2011
OUTCOME: Pleaded guilty to lesser charge of unlawful neglect of a child or helpless person on May 11, 2011, South Carolina court records show. Received two years probation.”
Former teacher avoids prison
Coach admitted asking 12-year-old girl for sex
BY ALLYSON BIRD
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Former First Baptist Church School teacher and revered coach Charles “DJ”
Fishburne Rhodes III admitted to asking a 12-year-old girl for sex through text
messages, but won’t serve time behind bars and won’t have to register as a sex offender.
Just weeks after Rhodes propositioned the girl, his wife gave birth to a severely handicapped child. A judge took pity on Rhodes’ family and decided that sentencing him to lockup would punish his family the most.
Rhodes appeared in circuit court Wednesday afternoon, a standout in his dark suit and flanked by two attorneys. Most of the other defendants entering guilty pleas arrived in jail or prison jumpsuits.
Rhodes, 28, has a master’s degree, a wife and a
son who is about to turn 2. Just a month before
his arrest, the Legislature honored Rhodes and
First Baptist’s baseball team for winning the 2009
S.C. Independent School Association Class AA
Investigators arrested Rhodes on a charge of
criminal solicitation of a minor, but he pleaded
guilty to a lesser charge of unlawful conduct to
avoid a trial, according to Assistant Solicitor
She said the girl did not want to testify, which is
why prosecutors decided to strike the plea deal.
“The girl just couldn’t do it,” Herring-Lash said.
Rhodes admitted to sending text messages to the
12-year-old student at the school for two or three
weeks that summer. He asked the girl to come to
his house and perform a sex act on him.
When the girl’s friend saw the exchange and replied to it, Rhodes said both girls could come over. Neither did.
Circuit Judge Roger Young sentenced Rhodes to 30 days of community service and to serve two years of probation. Young also ordered that Rhodes complete sex offender treatment and that his name be added to the central registry for child abuse and neglect — but not the sex offender registry.
Rhodes could have served up to 10 years in prison on the more serious offense.