A former Saluda Middle School teacher accused of sexual misconduct with minors entered an Alford plea to one count of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature before a Saluda County judge late Thursday.
The plea says the defendant does not admit guilt but does admit if the case were to go to trial, prosecutors would likely have enough evidence to win a conviction.
Thomas Joel Taylor, 55, was sentenced to 13 months including time served.
The claims first surfaced more than three years ago when the former 7th grade Saluda Middle School English teacher, was accused of possessing dozens of sex tapes involving boys and having hundreds of photos of an explicit nature of Saluda area boys.
Taylor had been working in the Saluda school system for about 30 years at the time of his arrest in 2010.
Investigators took him into custody, charging Taylor with one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of lewd act with minor and 13 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.
At least one victim also stepped forward to claim Taylor had molested him when he was 13, taking him on trips as far away as Los Angeles.
Another condition of his sentence ordered by the court was to have no unsupervised contact with a non-family minor for the rest of his life.
No probation sentence was given to Taylor, and he does not have to register as a sex offender.
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