Guilty verdict for sex crimes

A former employee of the Oneonta school system was found guilty of sex crimes by a Blount County jury last week.

Tommy Sanders, 53, was convicted of second-degree rape, seconddegree sodomy, and second-degree sexual abuse.

According to testimony presented during the trial, Sanders raped a 15- year-old family member. The testimony came from four witnesses, all under the age of 17.

“It is never easy when a child is sexually abused or raped,” said District Attorney Pamela Casey, “and a trial makes them relive a horrific time in their life. This was a difficult case to prosecute because the defendant exploited his relationship with a family member.

“I commend the strength that the victim showed. She is a beautiful young lady with a very bright future ahead of her and I am glad that we were able to obtain justice for her.”

Sanders, who worked in the lunchroom at Oneonta City School for 18 years, has been on paid administrative leave since 2009. He was indicted by a grand jury in January 2010.

Sentencing is set for July. He faces up to 20 years in jail for each count of rape and sodomy (both are Class B felonies) and up to one year for the sexual abuse charge (a Class A misdemeanor).