Preston Paris, 32, of Roswell, faces four charges related to an incident where he allegedly had sex with a 13-year-old girl. In a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, a judge ruled there was probable cause for the case to move forward.
Photo: Roswell Police Department
Photo: Roswell Police Department

Child molestation charges move forward against Johns Creek teacher

A child molestation case against a former Chattahoochee High School teacher will move forward in Fulton County courts.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Lillian Nash Caudle ruled after a preliminary hearing Tuesday that there was sufficient probable cause to charge Preston Paris, 32, of Roswell, with two counts of aggravated child molestation, statutory rape and enticing a minor for indecent purposes.

Paris was arrested on Oct. 1 by Roswell police and is no longer employed by Fulton County Schools. In addition to teaching social studies at Chattahoochee, Paris also coached swimming. He is accused of having sex with a 13-year-old girl who attends the same Cobb County school as his daughter.

According to Tuesday’s testimony from Chad White, a detective with the Roswell police department, there’s a chance Paris could also face charges in Gwinnett County for a separate alleged incident where he “sexted” a 17-year-old student. White said that Gwinnett County Schools allowed Paris to resign after the incident and he was never charged, but testified that the Gwinnett County District Attorney was “looking into it.”

A Patch story from 2015 says that Paris was a swim coach at Shiloh High School. A spokesperson with Gwinnett County Public Schools confirmed that Paris resigned “during an investigation into allegations of inappropriate texting with a 17-year-old student.”

The Gwinnett DA’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Paris did not speak in court, but appeared alongside his attorney, Noah Pines, wearing a blue jumpsuit. Members of Paris’ family were also present. Paris sat silently and hung his head down.

Shamma Iqbal is leading the prosecution of the case for the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. While Pines argued that there was “no sufficient evidence that sexual acts happened in Fulton County,” Iqbal leaned on White’s testimony. White, who has been a detective in Roswell for five years, cited the investigation by police and interviews of the victim and Paris.

According to White’s testimony, Roswell police became aware of the allegations against Paris on Sept. 27. The victim told her gym teacher that she and Paris were “dating.” That teacher alerted Cobb County authorities, who then alerted Roswell police after the victim said that Paris picked her up from her residence in Marietta, took her to his apartment in Roswell and had sex with her.

White said that Paris and the victim met on Tinder, a dating app, and then communicated through Snapchat. They talked about when they would meet up and what they would do when they did. White read aloud a portion of the messages Paris sent the victim, which were very sexual. He referred to himself as “daddy” and described what he would do to the victim.

According to White, Paris picked the victim up on July 13 and drove her back to his apartment on Barrington Oaks Ridge in Roswell. There, they talked for a while, then went into the bedroom, exchanged oral sex and then had “full-on sex” around 11:30 a.m.

Preston Paris, 32, of Roswell, appears in Fulton County court on Oct. 16, 2018. (Mitchell Northam, AJC)

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In an interview with police, Paris admitted to picking up the victim and having oral sex with her, according to White’s testimony.

Iqbal said in court that the victim provided a drawing of Paris’ apartment that matched one he had provided to police.

When questioned by Pines, White said there was no allegation that Paris forced himself on the victim and no evidence that he tried to intimidate her. White said Paris was “somewhat cooperative” in the investigation. Paris has no prior criminal history. No other alleged victims have come forward against Paris, White said.

Pines also argued that there was “no indication” that Paris knew the actual age of the victim because all Tinder users are supposed to be at least 18 years old. White said that the victim told Paris in a Snapchat that she was 17 and attended Wheeler High School.

Iqbal said it was “irrelevant” if Paris knew the actual age of the victim. In Georgia, the age of consent is 16.

A bond hearing for Paris has not been set, but Pines said that he filed for one Tuesday morning. Caudle set the next court date for Jan. 3, 2019.

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Police caught two people but a third made a dangerous move to get away.