Ex-Cobb GOP chairman Dendy indicted on molestation charges

A Cobb County grand jury has indicted the county’s former Republican Party chairman on 13 counts, including child molestation, cruelty to children and sexual battery.

Joseph Russell Dendy, 71, was arrested in May at his West Cobb home and charged with aggravated child molestation and child molestation after allegedly molesting two boys, ages 4 and 12, during separate incidents at his home. Dendy has also been charged with similar crimes in South Carolina, according to Cobb County police and the District Attorney's Office.

On Thursday, Dendy was indicted on four counts of child molestation, four counts of first-degree cruelty to children, three counts of enticing a child for indecent purposes, and one count each of aggravated sexual battery and aggravated child molestation, the indictment states. He was being held without bond Monday at the Cobb jail.

Prosecutors contended at his June bond hearing that Dendy has been molesting boys and a girl during a span off 55 years. Alleged victims told investigators they were initially embarrassed and afraid to report the inappropriate contact to police. Dendy allegedly told one victim he would kill his family if he reported what had happened, according to prosecutors.

Dendy and his wife, Billie, own a travel agency and have taught Sunday school for many years. For four years, Dendy served as the chairman of Cobb’s GOP, the largest red county in Georgia. He also previously served as the campaign manager for former State Rep. Roger Hines, who has described Dendy’s character as “impeccable.”

Dendy served two, two-year terms as leader of the Cobb GOP and was succeeded last year by his vice chair, Rose Wing.

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