A man was convicted of child molestation for an incident that occurred when he was an Athens-Clarke County police officer.
However, a jury Friday cleared Kristin Matthew Ward of a more serious charge of aggravated sexual battery, the Athens Banner-Herald reported. He also was acquitted of another count of child molestation and one count of criminal attempt to commit child molestation.
“Kris still insists he is innocent,” said Ward’s attorney, Morris Wiltshire. “I am pleased that we were able to secure acquittals on the most serious count Kris faced.”
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The victim made the allegations against Ward in April 2015, saying he was assaulted between September 2010 and November 2011, according to court records.
The victim was a cadet with the Civil Air Patrol at the Athens airport when Ward was commander of the air patrol unit, police said.
Ward was suspended with pay and later fired after an internal investigation. The GBI found there was probable cause to arrest Ward.
Three juveniles made claims against Ward. Wiltshire said he believes the jury convicted his client on one count of child molestation because they felt the ex-officer was involved in a pattern of inappropriate behavior with the children.
A sentencing date for Ward has not been scheduled.
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