Cobb County police officers at a crime scene on March 12, 2015. JOHN SPINK/ JSPINK@AJC.COM/ 2015 ajc file photo

Ex-Cobb County GOP leader accused of molesting two boys

For four years, he served as the chairman of Cobb County’s Republican Party, the largest red county in Georgia. Joe Dendy was the face of his party, sharing his opinions on the Braves’ move and subtle suggestions that MARTA shouldn’t extend rail service into Cobb.

On Friday, Dendy made headlines again. But this time, it had nothing to do with his political persuasion.

The 71-year-old was arrested at his West Cobb home and charged with aggravated child molestation and child molestation, according to police. He is also wanted by the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office in Michigan, as well as the Laurens Police Department in South Carolina on additional sexual abuse allegations, Sgt. Dana Pierce with Cobb police said late Friday.

It’s the second time in recent months that a notable Cobb Republican has been investigated for molestation.

In December, Kennesaw councilman and former mayor Leonard Church was sentenced to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of child molestation and four counts of sexual exploitation of children. Church, 67, who served two terms as mayor of Kennesaw, pleaded guilty to the charges just prior to his jury trial beginning.

Dendy is accused of molesting two boys, ages 4 and 12, during separate incidents inside his Creekview Court home, near Marietta, his arrest warrant states. One victim, who is now 20, told police he was molested in 2007 or 2008, when he was 12 or 13 years old. A second victim said Dendy molested him in December 2011, according to police.

A 4-year-old boy was sitting on Dendy’s lap when the man put his hand inside the boy’s pull-up diaper and touched him, a witness told investigators, according to the warrant.

An arrest warrant was issued for Dendy late Thursday, and deputies went to his home and arrested him at 9 a.m. Friday, booking records showed. Friday afternoon, another warrant was secured for Dendy, charging him with being a fugitive from justice. No details were available late Friday about the allegations in Michigan and South Carolina.

Dendy, a married grandfather, was being held without bond Friday night at the Cobb jail.

After serving two terms, each of them two years, as leader of the Cobb GOP, Dendy was succeeded last year by his vice chair, Rose Wing. The Cobb County Republican Party and key leaders in the party, including U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, Attorney General Sam Olens and former State GOP Chair Sue Everhart, declined to comment Friday on the arrest.

Dendy and his wife have run a travel agency from their home since 1993, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

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