Former midstate judge charged with sexual battery

A former Baldwin County Magistrate Court judge has been charged with sexual battery, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Chester Gunby, 69, of Milledgeville, was arrested Friday on the misdemeanor charge, said Special Agent Ryan Carmichael.

He was released from jail Friday on $2,000 bond under the condition that he stay away from the victim in the case, according to the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office.

The GBI launched an investigation at the end of October following a request by the sheriff’s office, Carmichael said.

Sheriff Bill Massee said he asked the GBI to investigate to prevent the appearance of a conflict of interest.

“I felt like with his past conviction and his past involvement with the judiciary here, it’d be better to have an independent agency work it,” he said.

Carmichael wouldn’t elaborate about the details of the alleged sexual battery or where it happened.

He said the incident allegedly occurred in the week prior to Gunby’s arrest.

Massee said the alleged victim is female.

In April 1991, the Federal Bureau of Investigation launched an investigation of the Magistrate Court in Baldwin County at the request of the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office. The investigation followed another inquiry that revealed the court had never been audited by the county, though it handled nearly $1 million a year and that Gunby and his wife, Glee, had set up secret retirement accounts for themselves.

Gunby and his wife were charged in a 27-count indictment, which accused them of illegally converting at least $400,000 in court funds for their own use.

At the time of the federal investigation Chester Gunby was chief magistrate, his wife was a magistrate and their daughter worked part-time.

Gunby set his salary and the salaries of his family members.

In November 1993, Chester and Glee Gunby pleaded guilty to making false statements on income tax documents.

Chester Gunby also pleaded guilty to mail fraud.

Chester Gunby was sentenced to serve 41 months in prison, fined $50,000 and ordered to pay about $77,000 to fund his confinement. Glee Gunby was sentenced to serve 24 months and ordered to pay about $43,000.

They also were ordered to pay $45,000 in delinquent taxes, penalties and fees.

Information from The Telegraph’s archives was included in this report. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.