Ex-principal Sentenced in Sex Case
April 11, 2013
|Ronald B. Anderson testifies Wednesday. / News Channel 5
A former public middle school principal charged with a string of sexual abuse was sentenced to three months in prison and 12 years of probation for abuse that occurred four years ago.
The man, Ronald B. Anderson, 34, allegedly met the victims, who were teenage boys, at his church.
Anderson, former principal at Kennedy Middle School in Antioch, was convicted in January by a Davidson County jury of four counts of sexual battery by an authority figure.
Police arrested Anderson in March 2009 after prosecutors charged him with sexually abusing two teenage boys, whom he took under his wing at the Royal Life International Church in Madison. Anderson had given them rides, treated them to dinner and become a mentor of sorts, according to court testimony.
Choking back tears, Anderson, wearing a gray suit, bow tie and red pocket square, said: “I assume and take full responsibility.
“I’ve hurt a lot of people,” he added, “and asked for forgiveness.”
In 2001, Kennedy Middle School hired Anderson as principal. He was suspended from the school in February 2009, when the school reportedly learned about the abuse.
School officials said Anderson underwent a background search prior to his hiring. Before starting at Kennedy, Anderson was assistant principal at Gra-Mar Middle School in Madison. School officials said they do not believe any students were abused during Anderson's tenure.
At the sentencing, one of the victims, now in his 20s, said the abuse plunged him into depression. “My life stopped a bit, and I’m just now getting it to where it should be,” he testified. When he first reported the abuse to church elders, the allegation was downplayed, according to the victim.
Sexual battery by an authority figure, a class C felony, typically carries a sentence of three to six years’ prison, probation or some combination.
Judge Cheryl Blackburn ordered that Anderson be registered as a sex offender. He must refrain from being around children over the next 12 years.
Susan Niland, spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, testified about the high level of local media coverage the case had garnered. The defense countered that media reports focused on his role as a public school administrator when none of the alleged abuse had any connection to schools at which he worked.
He had originally faced 12 counts of sexual battery by an authority figure, but prosecutors dropped eight of them because the victims’ cases had exceeded the statue of limitations.
Reach Bobby Allyn at 615-726-5990 or firstname.lastname@example.org