A Georgia sheriff and his deputies have been indicted after a mass body search of over 900 high school students resulted in several reports of “inappropriate” touching.
The incident took place on the morning of April 14, when the entire student body was placed under lockdown and ordered to line up against the walls. Surrendering their phones, the students -all 900 of them- were patted down by Worth County deputies as part of a warrantless drug search.
Sheriff Jeff Hobby had ordered the lockdown and search based on a “target list” of 12 suspected drug users, only three of which were even at school that day.
Following the search, reports began to surface of graphic sexual misconduct by the deputies- resulting in a federal civil suit.
This week a grand jury indicted Hobby and two deputies for their part in the high school raid. Hobby faces charges of sexual battery, false imprisonment, and violation of oath of office, according to the Washington Post.
In the lawsuit, one student reported that a deputy “reached up under” her shirt, “lifted her bra, and touched her bare breasts, including her nipples.”
Another student reported having her vaginal area cupped by a deputy, and yet another reports being patted down in the groin area multiple times.
“The sheriff’s position is that he’s not guilty,” said Hobby’s attorney, Norman Crowe Jr. “He’s committed no crime.”
Hobby had given little to no warning of the raid and delivered no details as to how it would be carried out.
“One of the deputies had exceeded the instructions given by the Sheriff and conducted a pat down of some students that was more intrusive than instructed,” Hobby said in April.
Two deputies -Tyler Turner and Deidra Whiddon- also face charges. The Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council have already suspended the law enforcement certifications of Hobby and his deputies.