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Second arrest made in Henry bribery case

By Jason A. Smith

A McDonough man is in the Henry County Jail, for allegedly bribing a McDonough community service supervisor to falsify work documents.

Joel Cedric English, Jr., 49, is charged with bribery of a government official. He appeared in Henry County Magistrate Court Friday, represented by the Public Defender's Office.

Magistrate Judge Robert Godwin bound English's case over to Superior Court.

English was granted a $1,050 bond, but according to jail records, Sentinel Offender Services in McDonough has a probation hold on him, thereby preventing his release from jail.

English was arrested by McDonough Police Thursday, at approximately 10 p.m., during a traffic stop at Washington Street and Phillips Drive, according to McDonough Police Chief Preston Dorsey.

English, according to the chief, is suspected of bribing 54-year-old Jerome Amis, a community service supervisor and former McDonough city councilman, several times over a period from December 2009 until earlier this month. English is on probation for criminal trespass and DUI, Dorsey said, and was due to perform community service.

"He's paid Mr. Amis, on at least three occasions, to falsify community service documents," Dorsey said.

Amis, of McDonough, is charged with bribery by a government official and making false statements. He was arrested by McDonough Police Wednesday, and was released from the Henry County Jail Thursday on $2,100 bond.

Amis, according to an arrest warrant in the case, is alleged to have taken bribes on three to four separate occasions, and to have submitted false documents to Sentinel and McDonough Municipal Court.

Sentinel Offender Services has an agreement with the City of McDonough to provide probationers as community-service workers, according to Andy Vaughan, general manager for Sentinel's Henry County district. Vaughan did not state what types of duties English performed.

"The confidentiality of our clients and customers prevent me from saying anything about any of them," said Vaughan.

He said Sentinel probationers from Henry County State Court cases can perform community service at any 501(c)(3) organization on the Internal Revenue Service web site, as long as the work is approved by a probation officer.

"The community service location must provide proof back to us, that [a probationer has] done so many hours," Vaughan said. "They get paid minimum wage for each hour worked. It gives them a chance to work off their fines."

Vaughan said Sentinel is "cooperating fully with the City of McDonough."