Spivey Pleads Guilty

Former CHS choir director Jonathan Spivey has pleaded guilty to indecent sexual liberties with a minor, Liesel Nowak writes for the Progress. Apparently, the sexual encounters were consensual, taking place in his office and in the choir robe chamber next to his office. The 47-year-old was first accused of sexual contact with his students last September, indicted in December, promptly committed to Martha Jefferson’s psychiatric ward, and then resigned his job. Spivey was also the minister of music at Mount Zion Baptist Church, though it looks like he may still hold that position, since he’s still listed as staff on the church’s website.

28 thoughts on “Spivey Pleads Guilty”

  1. Don’t assume that the web site is updated regularly. The calendar is broken, the copyright is 2004, and the daily scripture is most likely script driven.

  2. The scripture for today led me to conclude that it was updated regularly, but you’re right — the scripture is pulled from this JavaScript hosted by the International Bible Society. Here’s hoping Spivey’s been shown the door by now.

  3. Based on admittedly second-hand information, I believe it would be worth it for some intrepid journalist in the land of Charlottesville to ask some very pointed questions about whether or not he’s still the minister of music and just how it came to be that he was allowed to continue in that position and/or how he was reinstated to that position.

  4. Has the minister or Mt. Zion Baptist Church, who is also the chairman of the Charlottesville City School Board, commented on this?

  5. I understand Mr. Spivey is currently employed in an alternate position at Mt. Zion. I would also like to know what the CCS school board chair has to say about this outrageous and sad revelation.

  6. I will say it is a safe bet that there are people in that church who think he was set up, and he only plead guilty to save the victims the embarrassment of a trial. Churches are a haven for dim wits and naive fools, it has been that way through out history. I am yet to meet a “man of god” who isn’t shaking your hand with his right and reaching into your wallet with his left or worse if you are an altar boy…

  7. chris2059 spoke thusly : “I am yet to meet a “man of god” who isn’t shaking your hand with his right and reaching into your wallet with his left or worse if you are an altar boy”

    Well, Chris, maybe, but surely your suspicions do not extend to those “men of God” who have spoken with the Creator, and in some instances several times, at length, and also, via national television in High Definition color.

  8. Being a sexual predator seems to be popular hobby in professional religious circles.

  9. Let’s focus on the victims: Are there others? (Is there a mechanism in place to reach out to those who may not have turned up in this police investigation?) Are all of these victims receiving psychological counseling? And, as we look to the future, these questions need answers: Why did we (the Charlottesville City School community) fail to protect our children? What happened?

    We must know what went wrong if we hope to protect our school children from sexual predators in the future.

  10. “Why did we (the Charlottesville City School community) fail to protect our children? What happened?”
    Karl Ackerman, you are so right! Let’s ask the School Board and Rev. Edwards in particular. I’m interested in hearing the ideas of those running for School Board, as well.

  11. cvilleteacher – I too would really love to know what “Dr.” Edwards has to say about that…not much, I’m sure…I think Chris has it right, the “community” feels he was railroaded. Four times no less…the man is just evil, isn’t he? To railroad a guy four times when just one will do…that’s just plain mean.

  12. A few more questions for everyone who is reading this thread: would it be better for this community (Mr. Spivey’s victims especially; but also our schools, our teachers and administrators, other students, their parents, etc.) if this issue were to vanish with Mr. Spivey’s forthcoming sentencing; or should people who may have information to offer (officials past and present, teachers, administrators, parents, other students, other victims, etc.) be encouraged and supported–be asked directly by our current leaders–to come forward and offer their insights about why we failed our children in the Spivey case? It is a fact of life that child molesters are among us. What steps will be taken to prevent other incidents of sexual abuse from happening again?

    Mr. Spivey wasn’t railroaded. He chose to plead guilty to crimes for which he had been charged. Nor should this case be viewed (or be allowed to become) an issue that divides our community. There’s no issue of race, or sexual orientation here–just an issue that unites us all: the safety of our children. How would any of us react if these victims had been our own children? Should we react differently just because they were not?

    I can’t for the life of me figure out why the CHS principal in 2001 interviewed one of Mr. Spivey’s victims in the presence of Mr. Spivey to confirm or deny an allegation of molestation on school grounds. (Why weren’t the police called immediately, as happened last fall?) And why does Mr. Spivey remain affiliated with a church whose pastor is the current chair of our School Board?

    Too many questions. We still need answers.

  13. One CHS teacher said that admin. knew about Spivey for years and ignored it…..they said he was “untouchable” …….they will continue to “ignore” issues until held accountable……….Parents and Community members need to know why this happened, steps that will be taken to prevent this in the future and Dr. Edwards needs to explain why this pedophile is still on staff at his Church….If I had a child in the City Schools I would not feel confident right now.

  14. All I can say is what is wrong with Mr. Spivey. I met him years ago. I have no tolerance for adults who commit adultery on their spouse OR enter into sexual relations with a minor. Mr. Spivey was a highly regarded teacher that kids admired and yet he took away the innocence of wonderful kids. He has kids, and it must not have dawned on him that the same could happen to his beautiful kids. He is an ordained minister of music in a church of GOD with a rich history in the community and his pastor the chair of the school board. Did he not think of what GOD, the congregation or even his pastor who has done so much for our community’s youth would think? How can you be ordained and give your life to the word of GOD, and totally disregard the innocent children of GOD? He has a wonderful wife who loves him, and he traded that in for a child.

    This man was on the down-low, really low. (look it up) Is he the only one involved?

    This is not about race, it is about what is right and wrong. Do not let anyone skew the facts…he is not a victim. He DECIDED to be who he is, the kids did not have a choice.

    I pray for all of his victims who include those innocent children who came forward and for any who may still be afraid, his wife and kids, his congregation, the education community, and all who have been touched by this horrible crime.

    Mr. Spivey should get the max in my opinion, because those he hurt have a life sentence. I am sorry to have to say that. He DECIDED to walk outside of the law and GOD’s law and he should be man enough to stand up and take the maximum punishment for his tragic choices. That is a measure of a man. I pray for you to Jonathan. Take responsibility.

  15. Maybe I am naive, but I don’t think that the admin knew about Spivey’s predatory acts toward kids. I surely didn’t. He was not held to the same standard as others in other areas–meeting deadlines, maintaining discipline in the classroom, efficient use of teaching time–because he was ‘untouchable.’ I find it hard to believe that if any administrator knew that illicit acts were taking place in the building (or on school trips) that action would not have been taken.

  16. I, too, think we need to be careful about passing along opinions(eg. “One CHS teacher said that admin knew about Spivey for years….”)without facts about what was “known” in the Spivey case before he was put on administrative leave last September. I am struck by the use of the word “untouchable”, too. What does it mean?

    We need facts in the Spivey case. It is surprising to me that we still don’t have a public statement from our School Board or our administration about what happened, and what steps are being taken to ensure that child abuse doesn’t happen again in our schools. (Again, this about the safety of our children.) I hope that statement will be forthcoming.

    I went looking for the NBC29 interview with one of Mr. Spivey’s victims that aired last December after the charges were filed. It was very compelling–and I’d like to view it again, in light of the guilty plea about this particular case. The interview used to be accessible on-line, but I can’t locate it now. Any suggestions on how one goes about viewing this?

  17. So far no one has expressed outrage over another consequence off Spivey’s acts. He has given ammunition to the anti-gay bigots in our society,especially those who say gay teachers should not be in the schools.
    Let me be absolutely clear on one point: Teachers should never under any circumstance engage in sexual activities with their minor students, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
    Spivey’s acts would have been just as outrageous and wrong if he had preyed on young female students. But the fact that they were male does not make it MORE wrong, which is unfortunately how some folks will view it.
    People like Spivey make it hard for everyone else in the gay community.

  18. I think the term “untouchable” refers to the abuse of tenure, which has its place in an educational environment, but is often abused. If it had been a weak case and reduced to a misdemeanor, he would probably been able to keep his job. It’s basically the same in all types of government jobs, you can be as worthless or corrupt as you can be, but you are basically guaranteed a job until you get convicted of a felony.

  19. HollowBoy makes a valuable point in this discussion. It is very important that people realize that gay people are not more likely to sexually abuse children than are heterosexual people. It is an equivalent crime in either case.
    I appreciate Karl’s concerns for the safety of public school students but I believe that the best way we, as parents, can keep our kids safe is to invest a lot of time in establishing a close relationship with our children so that they will let us know if they need help. How is it possible to eliminate the potential for teacher abuse unless a prior criminal history exists?

  20. Amen to HollowBoy’s point. The Spivey case is about an adult harming children, period.

    I agree with Gail, too. I imagine every parent would want their child to come to them first if a teacher (or any adult) were to say or do something inappropriate. That said, the sad fact remains that many children in our community may not have such a relationship with a parent or guardian. What happens to them? (It takes a village….)

    Our schools need better understood procedures to follow up appropriately on rumors or charges of abuse. It appears that administrators at CHS responded well to the accusation against Mr. Spivey last fall, but not in 2001. Why call the police in one case, but not the other? (I don’t believe the parents were informed in 2001.) Moreover, teachers, students, and staff must be confident that any abuse concerns they express to administrators will always be handled with great professionalism. Otherwise, we can’t expect them to step forward with their observations or concerns. We may not be able to eliminate the potential for teacher abuse, but we can do much better than we have done.

    But first we need an honest, open discussion about what happened.

  21. I was told an interesting story that perhaps members of the congregation can deny or confirm.

    Several years ago there was an incident involving Spivey, which I’ve heard is public knowledge. Apparently a wife brought it to the attention of the congregation and made accusations during a church service. While it was ugly, the members of the congregation continued to support Spivey. If this is true, then it’s very sad for the Charlottesville City Schools and the members of the congregation.

  22. There is a timely article on sexual abuse in schools published recently in the Int’l Herald Tribune:


    The article reports on a 1993 survey of 2000 high school students which found that 10% experienced “‘unwanted and unwelcome sexual conduct,’ either verbal or physical, from teachers or other school employees.” The survey was repeated in 2000 with identical results.

    Silence is the wrong approach. I hope we will have a full discussion of this topic (and this case) during the fall School Board campaign. I understand that public officials learned of allegations of sexual abuse by Mr. Spivey before the 2001 case for which he pleaded guilty. This is very troubling news given the time line reported in the Daily Progress: “According to a city prosecutor, Spivey’s conduct first raised suspicions in 2001….” Apparently not true.

  23. Karl-
    I don’t doubt that people often hear things in cases like this which turn out to be true. The problem is that it is difficult and sometimes impossible to verify rumors, and some times the rumors turn out to be malicious gossip. As my children have grown up in ACPS, I have seen examples of rumors about school employees which turned out to be true and untrue. However, we surely could improve the reception which students or parents receive when they bring a situation to the attention of school administrators.
    As a parent, I have actually been most concerned for my children’s safety when they were being chaperoned by other parents whom I did not know.

  24. Gail,
    Just to be clear, in my last post, I was reporting news, not passing along a rumor. I stand by the comment. Frankly, I have begun to wonder if a number of civic leaders in our community were aware of allegations of child sexual abuse by Mr. Spivey for the past seven years. Because nobody sought seriously to stop him, the abuse continued. (I must conclude that the reason nobody sought seriously to stop him relates to cvilleteacher’s contention that Mr. Spivey was considered “untouchable.”)

    This week’s C-Ville Weekly reports that there was a police investigation of the abuse incidents in 2000-2001. http://www.c-ville.com/index.php?cat=141404064434008&ShowArticle_ID=1990307072790726
    I hadn’t heard that before. Now I wonder about the thoroughness of this investigation. Was Mr. Spivey put on administrative leave in 2001 during the police investigation, as happened last fall? Was the investigation procedure the same in 2001 and 2006? Was the alleged victim’s family notified in 2001? (I recall from the Dec 2006 NBC29 2-part interview with the young man that they were not.) Why wasn’t Mr. Spivey caught long ago?

  25. I did not intend to insinuate that Karl was passing along rumors.
    What I am trying to say is that sometimes lots of people hear rumors which are difficult to prove. Of course, the school’s top priority must be to protect students. However,it is also important not to ruin lives because of rumors which may not be true. It is very worrisome that it took years for this teacher to be stopped. Perhaps it would also be a good idea to look at what finally went right in the process of stopping Spivey and attempt to duplicate that process in the future.

  26. Consider too how difficult it was for the student(s) to come forward with the allegations, given his predatory way of approaching students with no witnesses and his stature in the community.

    Thankfully, the current CHS administrators knew what to do with the allegations and took the correct actions this time. If only it had been done when the first allegations were made.

    I agree that the silence from the school board and his church are questionable.

    I noticed in the c-ville article that prosecutors are thinking 1-2 years is likely–what are your thoughts?

Comments are closed.