June 18, 2024

Georgia Sheriff Indicted for Sexual Battery, Other Charges After Invasive Body Searches of 900 Students

Georgia Sheriff Indicted
Sheriff Jeff Hobby reportedly ordered the entire school on lock down during the drug search. (Image courtesy of WALB)

A South Georgia sheriff was indicted Tuesday, Oct. 3, on charges stemming from a school-wide search in which 900 students were inappropriately frisked by deputies.

A jury indicted Worth County Sheriff Jeff Hobby on one count of sexual battery, two counts of false imprisonment and a charge of violating his oath of office after he ordered a sweeping drug search at Worth County High School in April, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. A lawsuit claims deputies groped girls’ vaginas and breasts and touched boys in the groin area during the search.

Two of Hobby’s deputies, Tyler Turner and Deidra Whiddon, were also indicted in the case. Turner faces one count of sexual battery and one count of violation of his oath of office while Whiddon faces one count of violation of her oath of office, according to the Associated Press.

The incident drew widespread attention because the student body searches were performed as part of a drug search that ultimately yielded zero evidence.

A lawsuit filed on behalf of nine students against Hobby earlier this year claims the sheriff came to the high school with a list of 13 students he believed had drugs. Only three of the named students were at school that day and Hobby ordered for them to be searched. The complaint says he proceeded by putting the entire school on lock down, confining students to classrooms and taking their phones so they couldn’t call their parents.

In all, 900 students were searched, but no drugs or drug paraphernalia were found.

Hobby has maintained his innocence throughout the case.

“The sheriff’s position is he’s not guilty and has committed no crime,” his attorney, Norman Crowe Jr. said .

A warrant has not yet been issued for his arrest or the arrest of his deputies.

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