Accused Georgia sheriff surrenders, free on bond

February 5, 2022 GMT

MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia sheriff wanted for a sexual battery charge has surrendered to authorities, the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office said Saturday.

Bleckley County Sheriff Kristopher Coody turned himself in Friday and was released shortly after on bail, the sheriff’s office said. He faces charges, including sexual battery, for allegedly groping an Atlanta area judge, news outlets reported.

The alleged incident occurred last month at a hotel bar as the Georgia Sheriff’s Association held its winter meetings. A warrant states Coody “did place his hand” on the victim’s body parts, without the victim’s consent.

A warrant for Coody’s arrest was issued Jan. 28, but not made public until Wednesday, following an investigation.

The Bleckley County Sheriff’s Office, in a release Thursday, said Coody was out of state at a church-sponsored mission trip “that has been scheduled for nearly a year.”

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“Sheriff Coody has been a law enforcement officer for more than two decades and has tremendous respect for our court system. He is taking these allegations seriously and will meet with the appropriate authorities as soon as he returns,” the release said.

Bleckley County is located about 30 miles southeast (about 48 kilometers) of Macon.