HINESVILLE, GA (WTOC) - Hinesville City Council met Monday afternoon to discuss their next steps after City Manager Kenneth Howard was charged in a sex prostitution ring at Fort Valley State and University.
The council opted to keep Howard in his role as city manager instead of placing him on any sort of administrative leave, despite the charges against him. Howard waited to hear whether he’d be placed on leave or remain on the job as the council went into executive session. They met for 15 mins then returned to open session.
Mayor Allen Brown read a statement from the city that said Howard’s tenure and reputation gave them faith in him.
“The recent misdemeanor warrants against several prominent supporters of Fort Valley State University including Mr. Howard do not diminish this confidence,” Mayor Brown said. “Such misdemeanor allegations do not involve workplace conduct and are unrelated to Mr. Howard’s job performance.”
Howard faces charges of pandering and solicitation, as do six other men. He did not have any comment after the meeting regarding his status or the criminal case in Fort Valley.
The Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney David Cooke says each of these men were clients in that prostitution ring within the last year. Warrants for their arrest were issued Tuesday.
“Each of these defendants were advised of the charges against them this morning. They’ve been given the opportunity to turn themselves into law enforcement," Cooke said.
The district attorney says they have one week to turn themselves in. Forty-eight-year-old Alecia Johnson is accused of being the ringleader that set up the sex for the men. Johnson is the former executive assistant to the university’s president as well as the graduate advisor for her sorority on campus. She now faces six counts of pimping. According to the DA, she also faces six counts of prostitution on allegations she performed, offered, or consented to perform for money or other items of value.
Howard was only recently promoted as city manager in January.
As soon as we learn more information in this case, you’ll be the first to know.