Elizabeth school custodian accused of sex crime back in court

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The Elizabeth Middle School custodian arrested on felony charges of Internet luring of a child has been appointed a public defender to represent him.

Michael A. Petramala, 53, appeared in court March 8, asking Elbert County Judge Palmer Boyette for a court-appointed attorney.

Elbert County Public Defender Helen Massey-Hoopes, who now represents Petramala, will be back in court with him in April to address his $100,000 bond.

According to Elbert County Sheriff Shayne Heap, Petramala admitted to using the Internet and other social media as a means to meet girls for sex.

According to sheriff’s office reports, Petramala had detailed explicit sexual activities that he was planning with the juveniles and had agreed to bring alcohol and lingerie.

Elizabeth School district is cooperating with the ongoing investigation and, to date, doesn’t believe any of its students were involved. Although Petramala worked at the school, district officials said he did not work directly with students.

“Elizabeth Schools and our community clearly prioritize the safety and well-being of children above all else,” said District Superintendent Douglas Bissonette in a letter sent to parents. “Every step is taken every day, to the best of our ability, to make sure your children and our staff are safe at school.”

Petramala, who was arrested Feb. 22 at his Elizabeth home, is on administrative leave pending further investigation and is prohibited to access district property.

He remains in custody and makes his next court appearance April 5.