Rockdale deputy accused of child molestation

A Rockdale County sheriff’s deputy was fired Thursday after accused of child molestation.

Joseph Robert Harding, 23, of Conyers, was arrested by Conyers police following an investigation into claims that he molested a known juvenile female acquaintance in April, Chief Deputy Scott Freeman with the Rockdale sheriff’s office said.

Harding was charged with aggravated child molestation and aggravated sodomy and was being held in a neighboring county’s jail without bond, Freeman said.

The sheriff’s office conducted an internal investigation and fired Harding, who had worked at the jail since September, Freeman said.

“We worked with the Conyers Police Department as they conducted their investigation and swiftly terminated Harding following his arrest,” Rockdale County Sheriff Eric Levett said in an emailed statement. “Unfortunately, this is another example of an employee not representing the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office in the high standard of conduct and professionalism that the citizens of this county deserve.”