Former officer arrested

By Ed Brock

One of Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill's first hires as a correction officer, who was hired without a background check, has been arrested in connection with making advances toward a female high school student.

James Randale Wilson, 45, of Rex was fired less than a week after being hired when a background check was performed and showed something in his past, Hill said. Wilson is now sitting in the same jail he was earlier hired to be an officer at.

Wilson was arrested Friday and charged with disrupting a public school, loitering and simple battery in connection with a Tuesday incident involving an 18-year-old female student at North Clayton High School, Clayton County Police Capt. Jeff Turner said.

Turner said that Wilson had previously worked at the school as a private security guard before leaving to work for Hill. On Tuesday Wilson went to the school and went upstairs to a classroom without checking in at the office, leading to the charge of disrupting a public school.

At one point Wilson encountered the girl and began talking with her. Turner said Wilson and the girl were in a stairwell without a security camera, and at one point Wilson tried to kiss the girl.

"She pulled away and when she did he grabbed for her bottom," Turner said.

The girl left Wilson and later reported the incident to a school counselor who brought it to school authorities who called police.

The loitering charge was made because, though Wilson's son is a student at the school, he wasn't there to visit him and had no other reason to be there, Turner said.

When the police began investigating the incident on Wednesday they called the county's personnel office to confirm Wilson's status as an employee of the sheriff's office they were told no paperwork existed for Wilson.

Hill said he hired Wilson on Jan. 6, along with some other people, to "fill some slots" in the office. On his first day on the job Hill fired 27 people on the department's command staff, though he later rehired them with demotions.

At the time Hill told the new hires that he would be performing background checks on them and if he didn't like what he saw he would fire them so they should tell him everything then.

"I guess (Wilson) didn't believe me," Hill said.

The background check revealed a 1997 investigation into Wilson in connection with accusations that he had been harassing a female college student, Hill said. So on Monday he asked Wilson to return the badge and identification card that he had been issued.

Turner said police investigators were also told that Wilson showed a badge and ID card to an assistant principal and a coach with North Clayton High School during a basketball game on Saturday. He also had a 9mm handgun in a holster at the game, but all county law enforcement personnel are issued 10mm Glock handguns, Turner said.

Hill said Wilson, like all corrections officers, was not issued a handgun.

Wilson had volunteered for Hill's campaign for sheriff but Hill said he didn't know him well.

"He came to me and asked for a job so I gave him a shot," Hill said.

Wilson is scheduled to make his first appearance in court at 9 a.m. Saturday.