Georgia sheriff resigns in groping scandal

August 24, 2023
Matthew Boose

A Georgia sheriff has resigned from his post after he admitted to groping a television judge.

Bleckley County Sheriff Kris Coody pled guilty to sexual battery for grabbing Glenda Hatchett, the host of The Verdict with Judge Hatchett and Judge Hatchett.

The incident happened during an interaction between Coody and Hatchett in January of 2022 at an event for the Georgia Sheriff’s Association.

Sheriff pleads guilty

Hatchett says Coody poked her in the chest and said he was "from the heart of Georgia" after she said she didn't know where Bleckley County is located. Coody then grabbed Hatchett's chest and started rubbing it until a witness, former Dekalb County sheriff Thomas Brown, intervened.

"He [Coody] grabbed my left breast. He squeezed it, he then started rubbing on my breast, until Thomas Brown intervened. He literally had to take his hand off of me and push him off me," Hatchett said.

"I was absolutely frozen,” she added. “I never felt so helpless in my entire life. And I was angry frankly. I was angry I didn’t slap him.”

Hatchett was Brown's guest at the conference.

“As I turned to my left to focus back on the two of them, I saw his hand go down on her left breast,” Brown said. “I grabbed his arm threw it off of her chest and basically said, ‘What are you (adjective) think you’re doing?’ and that’s basically where it ended.”

Denies intent

In his resignation letter to Governor Brian Kemp (R), Coody denied any willful intent in the "unfortunate incident" and said he was forfeiting his pension.

"To be clear, I had no intent to touch Ms. Hatchett inappropriately. Unfortunately, I acted in a careless manner and for that I have taken full responsibility for my actions," he said.

In addition to 12 months' probation, Coody has to perform community service, pay a $500 fine and complete a drug and alcohol course, as well as a psychosexual evaluation.

He also cannot have contact with Hatchett, Cobb State Court Judge Carl Bowers warned: "I will lock you up. Not a threat, simply a promise."

Hatchett told the court about the emotionally devastating effect the incident has had on her.

“For this man to come up and violate me the way he did is unspeakable,” Hatchett said. “It is important for the defendant and everyone present to understand the horrific effect this has had on me.”

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