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GBI charges former Coffee, Bacon deputy with aggravated sexual battery

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Tony Kirkland, a deputy who was working as a bailiff at the Coffee County Courthouse at the time, has been arrested and charged with aggravated sexual battery by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The GBI announced his arrest earlier today in a press release, with the Coffee County Sheriff's Office also releasing a statement regarding Kirkland's arrest.



The GBI release reports:



"The GBI has Tony Kirkland, 58, of Alma, with one count of Aggravated Sexual Battery stemming from an incident that occurred between September 30, 2022, and October 1, 2022 at his residence in Alma, Georgia.



"On Friday, December 9, 2022, the Bacon County Sheriff's Office requested the GBI Region 4 Douglas Office to conduct a sexual assault investigation. Kirkland was booked at the Bacon County Jail and is currently being housed at the Wayne County Jail.



"Once the investigation is complete, the case file will be given to the Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office for review and potential prosecution."



Coffee County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Fred Cole gave the following statement:



"A former Coffee County deputy sheriff, who had been on paid suspension since the end of 2022, has been permanently terminated from employment following his recent arrest on sexually-related felony charges.



"Sheriff Doyle Wooten was notified on Dec. 23, 2022, by agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation that Coffee County Deputy Sheriff Tony Kirkland was the subject of an investigation into an alleged sexual assault that had occurred in Bacon County.  



"He was immediately suspended with pay while the GBI continued its investigation.



"On January 13, 2023, Sheriff Wooten was advised by GBI officials that Deputy Kirkland would be charged and arrested on one count of aggravated sexual battery. Kirkland was immediately terminated from his position with the Coffee County Sheriff's Office at that time. He had been employed with the CCSO since March of 2022."



Prior to working in Coffee County, Kirkland was a longtime employee at the Bacon County Sheriff's Office. Officials with the BCSO stated that due to his history with the department, Bacon County Sheriff Andy Batten requested that the case be turned over to the GBI. Kirkland worked in Bacon County for several years before voluntarily resigning in October 2021 due to medical reasons.



GBI officials ask that anyone with information regarding the case is encouraged to contact the Bacon County Sheriff's Office at (912) 632-8515 or the GBI Region 4 Douglas Office at (912) 389-4103. Anonymous tips can also be submitted by calling 1-800-597 (TIPS), online at https://gbi.georgia.gov/submit-tips-online, or by downloading the See Something, Send Something mobile app. 

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