|Lanice Clifton Bonds|
By Matt Elofson
Prosecutors argued against a bail reduction for a former Dothan police officer charged with having sex with a student, calling it the first such offense to actually happen at a local school.
Houston County District Attorney Doug Valeska argued against a bail reduction for 37-year-old Lanice Bonds. Dothan police arrested Bonds last month, and charged him with school employee or official having sex with a student. Valeska said the offense happened in Bonds’ office inside the school. He also said the victim was a 17-year-old girl.
Bonds had served as the school resource officer at Dothan High School for at least five years prior to his recent termination from the Dothan Police Department.
“This is the first time we've made a case where the sexual act took place in a school,” Valeska said. “He confessed to having sex with a student at Dothan High School.”
Attorney Cada Carter, who represented Bonds, asked the court to reduce his client’s $250,000 bail.
Carter said his client has never been in trouble before. He also said his client was not a flight risk, and has family in the area.
“He’s married and has a small child in the area. His wife works at Fort Rucker at a very respectful job. His father is a police chief in the area,” Carter said. “He’s not any kind of menace to society.”
Valeska called reducing the bail for Bonds would be like giving him a reward.
Houston County District Court Judge Benjamin Lewis said he’d take the request for a bail reduction under advisement, and likely issue a ruling within a few days.
Valeska also showed a video of a tape recorded interview between Bonds and a Dothan police detective, which he said included the confession.
During the interview, for the first several minutes of questioning Bonds denied ever having sex with the female student. Bonds also said it started out with some flirtations and then some gestures were made.
The police detective who interviewed Bonds told him the victim had reported she was forcibly raped and intimidated because he was a police officer.
“It was consensual all the way through, no force at all,” Bonds said during the interview. “She could’ve left at any time. The door was right there. I’m behind the desk the whole time.”
During the interview Bonds questioned the detective how there could’ve been force involved with teachers in their class rooms on either side of him. The interview also talked about the use of a condom.
Then it appeared after continued questioning by the detective Bonds confessed to having intercourse twice with the student.
The detective told Bonds during the interview his story matched the victim except she claimed they had sex for five minutes.
Carter told the court he’s not sure his client “really confessed” based on the video interview with police. He said the offense could still be a misdemeanor crime.
Carter questioned why the prosecution chose to show the video interview for bail reduction hearing.
If convicted of the class B felony crime Bonds faces two to 20 years in prison.