Former teacher sentenced to four years for filming students

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A former Trinity Christian School teacher who filmed boys in school restrooms without their knowledge was sentenced to four years in prison Monday as part of a plea bargain.

Shane Samuel Jones, 31, pleaded guilty Monday to felony charges of voyeurism and video voyeurism with the help of Texarkana lawyers Danny Cook and Bart Craytor at a hearing before Circuit Judge Brent Haltom. In addition to receiving concurrent, four-year sentences on each count, Jones was also sentenced to two years suspended imposition of sentence for each offense.

That means that after serving his four-year sentence, Jones could be returned to prison during the two-year suspended term if he commits a new offense. The maximum Jones could have received on each count was six years. Jones must register as a sex offender and is no longer eligible to teach children. Jones was taken into custody at the end of his hearing Monday. He will be held in the Miller County jail until he is transported to the Arkansas Department of Correction.

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Cook asked Haltom if Jones could receive credit toward his sentence for the time he has worn a GPS leg monitor. The monitor was required by 202nd District John Tidwell as a condition of Jones’ bond in Bowie County, Texas, where he is charged with invasive visual recording.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Connie Mitchell, who was standing in for Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Kristian Robertson, argued that Jones should only receive credit for the two days he spent in jail in November following his arrest. Haltom gave Jones credit for two days only.

Jones was charged by law enforcement in Bowie and Miller Counties in November after an 11-year-old boy reported that someone slipped a phone beneath a stall divider in a restroom at J.C. Penney in Texarkana, Texas, and snapped a picture while his pants were down.

Police were called and Jones agreed to let officers keep his phone. Jones was interviewed by police a few days later and confessed to filming boys using restrooms. Jones told officers they would find at least 10 videos on an old phone seized from his phone and at least five more on the phone taken from him at the time of his arrest. Jones allegedly confessed to filming the boy at J.C. Penney as well.

Jones, who had worked as a teacher at Trinity since 2015, was fired following his arrest.

Jones is scheduled to appear Aug. 13 before 202nd District Judge John Tidwell on the charge of invasive visual recording pending in Bowie County. Tidwell rejected a plea agreement in February that included a deal for probation. Jones faces six months to two years in a state jail on the Bowie County charge.

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