GILMER COUNTY, GA (Times Free Press) - Three weeks before police say he sexually abused another student, Damon Avery Johnson attended a ceremony dedicated to his future college baseball career.

Johnson signed a letter of intent at that April 21 celebration alongside other high school seniors committed to playing at Georgia Highlands College next year. But when the Chargers take the field come spring, Johnson will not be among them.

On May 28, the day the Gilmer County Sheriff's Office charged Johnson with aggravated sexual battery and underage possession of alcohol, Johnson got a call from Georgia Highlands coach Mike Marra. The coach told Johnson he had broken a school policy: Prospective athletes cannot come to Georgia Highlands if they are charged with a crime.

Johnson agreed to be released from his letter of intent, which is an agreement between a school and an athlete to give that athlete a scholarship. If Johnson had not agreed to be released, school officials would have asked members of the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association and the National Junior College Athletic Association to allow the school to end the agreement without Johnson's permission.

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