Former Columbus High School choir director Michael Jackson has been sentenced to seven years in prison for attempting to solicit oral sex from a then-17-year-old male Columbus High School student in 2013. A Lowndes County jury found Jackson, 35, guilty Thursday afternoon after about 50 minutes of deliberation.

Circuit Judge Lee Coleman sentenced him to 12 years with five suspended, leaving seven to serve. It will be a day-to-day sentence, meaning he will not be eligible for early release. Jackson will also be required to register as a sex offender and pay a $50,000 fine, with $45,000 of that suspended. The maximum was 40 years and $500,000.

“This is a difficult case,” Coleman said. “There was no actual contact and the defendant has been a good person in other respects, but the fact that he was a teacher and that he took steps to actually meet the victim (for sex) are aggravating factors.”

For more on the sentencing, see the May 31 edition of the Packet.