VSU Dean of Sciences and Mathematics Keith Walters, one of 14 suspects taken into custody in a four-day child sex sting operation, has been given a bail of $25,000, according to Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office.
As of Wednesday, Walters remains incarcerated, according to the department’s website.
Of the suspects arrested in the operation known as “Operation Broken Arrow,” Walters was given the highest bail. Five other suspects have also been offered.
Walters was charged with sexual exploitation of children after local and state agencies said he to arranged to meet someone for sex who he believed was a minor.
The investigation was based in Valdosta and involved nearly 20 agencies. It was conducted between Feb. 6 and Feb. 9. According to a press release from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the children targeted were both boys and girls.
Walters has been removed as dean of the college of Sciences and Mathematics. The portion of his salary tied to his responsibilities as dean will be eliminated, according to the Valdosta Daily Times. He was also placed on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of his legal proceedings.
Walters, also a professor of chemistry, was not teaching classes for the spring semester.
Dr. James LaPlant, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, will serve in Walters’ place as interim dean of the college, effective immediately. VSU Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Robert Smith, added via email that Dr. Theresa Grove, associate dean of the college, will provide “continuity of leadership during this period of transition.”
Dr. Grove will work alongside Dr. LaPlant until a full-time dean is hired.
“A national search will be launched later this year for a permanent Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics with the new dean starting sometime in 2021,” Dr. LaPlant said. The university has not announced an exact date for the search to begin.
Walters started his tenure at VSU in January of 2019.
Written by Prince Robinson Jr., Managing Editor. Photo courtesy of Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office.