S.C. military recruiters demoted after sex scandal

Friday, February 9th 2007, 5:51 pm
By: News On 6

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ Two military recruiters were demoted and fined because one had sex with a high school student and the other with the girl's cheerleading coach, National Guard officials said Friday.

Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Fletcher and Sgt. Jeremy Pileggi took the military equivalent of a plea deal that also cost them their recruiting jobs. They were allowed to remain as part-time soldiers with the Army National Guard, spokesman Col. Pete Brooks said, and were fined the equivalent of two days' pay.

Messages left at the men's homes were not immediately returned.

Police said Fletcher, 29, had an affair with Ware Shoals High School cheerleading coach Jill Moore, who resigned in January after being charged with supplying alcohol and cigarettes to students and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Moore, a married mother of two, took two cheerleaders to meet Pileggi at a motel, according to sheriff's office reports.

Pileggi, 21, acknowledged having sex with a 16-year-old cheerleader last year, and one of the cheerleaders said she watched Moore and Fletcher have sex, police reports said.

The two soldiers admitted to dereliction of duty, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and ``conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline,'' according to a statement released by the South Carolina National Guard.

Moore and Ware Shoals principal Jane Blackwell were arrested in January. Blackwell is accused of trying to interfere with the investigation by telling cheerleaders not to talk to investigators. Both have maintained their innocence.

The soldiers did not face criminal charges because the students were at least 16, old enough to consent to sex under state law.