December 19, 2012

Ex-college professor rejects plea deal

Set for trial on child sex charges

Rachel Brown

— A former college professor charged with sexual crimes against at least three underage girls was scheduled to plead guilty to some of the charges in Whitfield County Superior Court Tuesday, but in a last-minute decision said he wanted to go to trial instead.

Monte Gale Salyer of Rocky Face, who resigned from teaching English as a second language at Dalton State College after his arrest in February, faces two counts of rape, one count of statutory rape, three counts of child molestation, five counts of aggravated child molestation and one count of criminal attempt to commit a felony.

Salyer said little as he stood before Judge Cindy Morris Tuesday afternoon with at least eight people who were connected to the alleged victims at his back, some of whom had traveled from as far away as Michigan to be present. He is accused of molesting an 8-year-old relative and two other children he befriended at church over a period of several years.

District Attorney Bert Poston said his office had negotiated a plea deal with Salyer that would have resulted in a total sentence of 20 years in prison followed by 10 years on probation. Had he taken it, the district attorney’s office would have asked to dismiss the rape, statutory rape and one aggravated child molestation charge. He would have pleaded guilty to the lesser charges of child molestation in place of the other aggravated child molestation counts, and he would have pleaded guilty to criminal attempt to commit a felony and the other child molestation charges.

Assistant District Attorney Ben Kenemer said the plea deal is permanently off the table and that “the state will oppose any reduction of the charges” in the future. Kenemer told the judge he felt “a sense of frustration” at Salyer’s decision to renege on the plea deal only minutes before the hearing.

“There are people in this courtroom who were prepared for a resolution today,” he said.

Several of the charges Salyer now faces could result in up to life in prison without parole. He is scheduled for calendar call Jan. 3 and for trial Jan. 7.

Salyer’s defense attorney, Marcus Morris, declined comment.