EATONTON, GEORGIA – A former police officer in Eatonton has been sentenced to prison after he was convicted of child molestation and sexual exploitation of children.
A Putnam County jury deliberated about an hour yesterday before finding 44-year-old Darrell Sanders guilty on one child-molestation count and three sexual-exploitation charges. Special Assistant District Attorney Dawn Bakin says Sanders was sentenced to 20 years in prison for each charge.
Baskin says the investigation began last October when a 14-year-old girl told Putnam sheriff's investigators that an Eatonton police officer had "engaged in inappropriate behavior."
Baskin said the girl implicated Darrell Sanders and his wife, Jennifer Sanders. Thirty-one-year-old Jennifer Sanders pleaded guilty this summer to child molestation.
The girl who made the initial complaint said nude photographs had been taken of her after she'd been given alcohol and marijuana at Darrell Sanders' house. Baskin says the girl -- and others who testified against Sanders -- were friends of Sanders' daughters.
A search of the Sanders' home and two cars turned up a laptop computer, on which nude pictures of children were found.
Baskin said Darrell Sanders denied involvement in the crimes and testified in his own defense at trial.
He had been an Eatonton police officer for about five years, and once worked for the Georgia Department of Corrections.