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Former school mentor convicted on child sex charges

A former school mentor, and retired Army attorney, was convicted Monday on four sex charges, involving a fourth-grade boy.

Clayton County Assistant District Attorney Katie Powers urged jurors, Friday, to be strong enough to help the victim, now 13, and convict defendant, Adrian Zakaluzny.

Jurors deliberated several hours before finding Zakaluzny, 66, guilty of three counts of child molestation and one count of aggravated sexual battery.

He is being held in the Clayton County Jail, awaiting sentencing.

Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson said he faces up to 65 years in prison.

Zakaluzny mentored the child, who was 9 when the abuse began, as a volunteer at Daughtry Elementary School, in Butts County. Jurors heard how Zakaluzny befriended the child and his family and gained their trust.

The boy spent almost every weekend at Zakaluzny's Riverdale home, and went out of town with him without the child's family, said prosecutors. The child was also forced to shower and share a bed with Zakaluzny, they said.

Zakaluzny told the boy to keep their activities a secret, prosecutors said. He was arrested at his home in January 2009.

He was represented in court Jonesboro attorney, Steve Lister.

Zakaluzny is retired from the U.S. Army, where he was an attorney with the Judge Advocate General's Corps. He was previously stationed at Fort McPherson.

Zakaluzny got a commendation in 1981 for pulling three people from a burning car in Illinois, according to an Army newsletter.