Cobb County police (Photo: JOHN SPINK / jspink@ajc.com / March 12, 2015)

Bond denied for former Cobb GOP chair accused of molestation

He and his wife have taught Sunday school for many years and owned their own travel agency. And Joseph Dendy, a Vietnam veteran, is the former chairman of the Cobb County Republican Party.

But despite his contributions to the community, he is a sexual predator who likely will assault another child if released on bond, prosecutors said Friday afternoon in Cobb Superior Court. Dendy, 71, was arrested May 20 and has remained in the Cobb jail, where he’ll remain at least another week, now that bond has been denied.

“This is not a bond case,” Judge Adele Grubbs told the court. “He doesn’t have to waive a gun to intimidate.”

Dendy is accused of molesting boys and a girl during a span of 55 years, according to the Cobb District Attorney’s Office. In addition to being charged in Georgia, he has been charged with similar crimes in South Carolina. Dendy allegedly molested a young boy as far back as the late 1950s.

“I think it’s time for this to stop,” that alleged victim, now a man, told the court.

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’s wife of 44 years, Billie, testified that a victim told her in 1995 he had been molested by Dendy as a child. Dendy told his wife the molestation had never happened, she told the court.

For four years, Dendy served as the chairman of Cobb’s GOP, the largest red county in Georgia. During that time, Dendy was the face of his party. He also previously served as the campaign manager for former State Rep. Roger Hines, who described Dendy’s character as “impeccable” during the hearing.

A longtime friend of the Dendys, Becky Cheek, also testified on Dendy’s behalf.

“He’s a very well-respected gentleman,” Cheek said. “He’s always courteous and kind. I’ve never heard him say an unkind word to anyone.”

A probable cause hearing will be held for Dendy on Friday.

This is 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.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.