Forsyth County chief deputy facing child porn charges released on bond

Forsyth County Chief Deputy Grady Sanford was arrested on child pornography charges.

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Forsyth County Chief Deputy Grady Sanford was arrested on child pornography charges.

High-ranking law enforcement official loses job and teaching position

A high-ranking Georgia law enforcement official was arrested Tuesday after a GBI investigation led to the state agency charging him with multiple counts related to child pornography, authorities said.

Forsyth County Chief Deputy Grady Sanford, 56, was charged with two counts of distribution of child pornography and immediately fired. The charges are the result of an investigation that began Friday when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children sent the GBI a report flagging Sanford’s computer, agency spokeswoman Nelly Miles said.

According to the initial investigation, the NCMEC report indicated that child porn images had been uploaded to a popular email service from an IP address linked to Sanford’s home in Canton. The GBI executed a search warrant at the address on Windsor Green Court on Tuesday and arrested Sanford, Miles said.

Sanford was booked into the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center and released shortly after on $5,600 bond, according to Capt. Jay Baker with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.

In a statement, Forsyth Sheriff Ron Freeman said his office was alerted to the search warrant at Sanford’s home Tuesday morning. After the GBI found probable cause to arrest Sanford, his employment with the Forsyth sheriff’s office was terminated immediately, Freeman said.

“To say this is a shock is a gross understatement,” Freeman said. “Our trust and that of our community has been betrayed. I’ve made a commitment to be transparent, even when one of our own employees does wrong. No one is exempt and no one is above the law.”

Sanford’s now-deleted LinkedIn profile indicates he previously worked at the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office, the Fairmount Police Department and the Georgia State Patrol. He was also a part-time instructor at Reinhardt University for nearly four years, though the school has parted ways with him since his arrest.

“Like others in our community, Reinhardt is shocked by the news of Mr. Sanford’s arrest and alleged conduct," the university’s interim president Mark Roberts said. "Without hesitation, we have terminated Mr. Sanford’s status with the university.”

According to the state Peace Officer Training and Standards Council, Sanford has no prior disciplinary record.

— Data specialist Jennifer Peebles contributed to this article.

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