Sheriff of rural Georgia county charged with sexual battery

August 12, 2022 GMT

COLQUITT, Ga. (AP) — A sheriff in rural southwest Georgia has been arrested on charges of sexual battery and violating his oath of office following an investigation by state authorities.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents served arrest warrants on Miller County Sheriff Richard Morgan, 54, on Wednesday, the agency said in a news release. The GBI said the area district attorney late last month had asked it to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct involving the sheriff.

The agency said the charges stem from “an incident that took place while on a 911 call,” but gave no further details.

Georgia law defines sexual battery as making physical contact with “the intimate parts of the body of another person” without consent. It is a misdemeanor unless the victim is a child. The violation of oath charge is a felony punishable by one to five years in prison.

The sheriff’s office said Morgan was not available Friday and referred a reporter to an attorney representing him. The attorney, Thomas V. Duck III, did not immediately return a phone message.

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Morgan told WCTV-TV on Thursday he was still on the job as sheriff in Miller County, located in Georgia’s rural southwest corner. He declined to comment further.

Morgan ran against the incumbent sheriff in 2020 and ended up with the job despite losing the election. That’s because then-Sheriff Scott Worsley died from cancer the week before Election Day. Even after his death, Worsley carried the race with 52% of the vote. As the runner-up, Morgan became the new sheriff.