Crime

Warrants: Houston deputy solicited oral sex while on duty

Chris Sawyer
Chris Sawyer

WARNER ROBINS -- A Houston County sheriff’s deputy turned himself in Friday morning on charges related to a GBI investigation.

Arrest warrants were issued for deputy Chris Sawyer, 34, of Warner Robins, for solicitation of sodomy, a misdemeanor, and violation of his oath, which is a felony, said J.T. Ricketson, special agent in charge of the GBI’s Perry office.

According to the warrants, Sawyer solicited and paid for oral sex on multiple occasions while on duty. Sheriff Cullen Talton said the deputy admitted to receiving oral sex at least two times for payment while on duty.

On Thursday, Sawyer was suspended pending termination, and he immediately resigned, Talton said.

The incidents allegedly happened between Jan. 1 and July 14, according to the warrants.

Sawyer appeared before Houston County Chief Magistrate Judge Bob Turner on Friday morning.

Sawyer declined a court-appointed attorney. Turner set his bond at $5,000, or $2,500 for each charge. Sawyer was released on bond at 11:45 a.m., jail records show.

Sawyer started working at the sheriff’s office on June 9, 2011, as a detention officer in the jail. He moved to patrol on Jan. 7, 2014.

Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Billy Rape said Sawyer had no major prior disciplinary actions.

The allegations first surfaced when a woman was picked up by Warner Robins police for allegedly shoplifting, Talton said. She disclosed the allegations to police, who in turn contacted the Houston County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff’s Capt. Jon Holland said he immediately initiated an internal investigation, which confirmed that the sexual contact likely occurred.

Talton said he requested the GBI investigation as a third-party law enforcement agency to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Late Thursday afternoon, the GBI informed the sheriff’s office that its investigation had substantiated the allegations against Sawyer.

Sawyer declined to comment Friday.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559. To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.

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