A Georgia sheriff has been indicted for sexual battery, false imprisonment, and violation of oath of office after a high school drug search back in April.
Sheriff Joe Hobby’s deputies allegedly “touched girls vaginas and breasts and groped boys in their groin area” during the search at Worth County High School on April 14. Two of the deputies were also indicted in the case.
According to the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the day of the search “students didn’t know what was happening” after a school “lock down” announcement:
One-by-one, the classes were directed to the hall. [Student] K.P. said they were told to face the wall — boys in one line, girls in the other. The students were told to put their hands against the wall as the deputies conducted the body searches.
She said the female deputy inappropriately touched and groped her breast. She lifted up her bra and touched her vaginal area through her jean pockets, according to K.P.
“I was just scared because I had never been put in that position,” she said. “I felt sexually violated….I was very angry.”
K.P. is one of nine students who filed the federal civil rights lawsuit.
The lawsuit says female deputies manipulated students’ breasts, inserted their fingers inside girls’ bras, pulled up their bras and touched their partially exposed breasts. They also placed their hands inside the waistbands of girls’ underwear and reached up their dresses.
Male deputies searched boys and groped their genitals and touched their buttocks through their pants, the lawsuit says. The mass searches were conducted in front of other students and the deputies had no warrant or authority to perform the search, the lawsuit says.
No drugs were found in any of the student searches.
Hobby’s attorney Norman Crowe Jr. said the sheriff was present during the searches, but didn’t participate in any.
“The sheriff’s position is that he’s not guilty,” Crowe said. “He’s committed no crime.”