A former West Hall Middle School PE teacher was sentenced to 60 days in jail Wednesday, Oct. 20, for sending obscene material to minors, according to court documents.
William Bagwell was sentenced to 12 months with the first 60 days in confinement. Superior Court Judge C. Andrew Fuller imposed the sentence and allowed the remainder of the sentence to be served on probation.
Bagwell, 35, was sentenced after a bench trial, which means a judge rules on the merits of the case instead of a jury.
Bagwell was arrested in September 2019 and was suspended by the school system. Hall County Schools spokesman Stan Lewis said his last day of employment with the school was Oct. 4, 2019.
Bagwell was indicted in December 2020 on one count of electronically furnishing obscene material to minors and obscene Internet contact with a child. There are two different girls named in the indictment.
The district attorney’s office submitted a dismissal order Monday, Oct. 18, for the obscene Internet contact with a child count.
In the order, prosecutors wrote that Bagwell was arrested “after it was discovered that he had sent inappropriate messages to teenage girls he knew through his position as a coach at West Hall Middle School.”
The obscene Internet contact allegation concerned “messages of a sexual nature that (Bagwell) sent to a former student of his,” according to the order.
The prosecution previously believed that the student was 15 but learned while preparing for trial that she was 16 at the time she received the messages.
Because the statute defines a child as a person under the age of 16, the “defendant’s conduct (was) not criminal as alleged” in the indictment.
Northeastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Lee Darragh did not provide details on the disposition of the case.
Defense attorney Jacob Stidham did not return multiple calls for comment since Wednesday.
According to the terms of the sentence, Bagwell will have to provide verification of evaluation and treatment for mental health and ‘sexual disorder or sexual deviance.”
Fuller allowed for the custodial sentence to be served on the weekends, though Bagwell was booked Wednesday in the Hall County Jail.
Bagwell will also be subject to the special sex offender conditions of probation.