Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local News

April 3, 2008

Charges against former deputy dismissed

AMERICUS — A child molestation charge against former Sumter County Sheriff’s Deputy Wesley Stanfield has been dismissed, and the deputy’s attorney had filed a complaint against the District Attorney.

Stanfield was arrested in December 2006 at age 23, stemming from an incident that occurred in 2001, when Stanfield was 18 years old, and his alleged victim was age 14. Stanfield was employed as a jailer at the Sumter County LEC when the incident allegedly occurred. That incident was not reported until November 2006.

The Region 3 Americus office of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation became involved in the investigation at the request of Sumter County Sheriff Pete Smith.

Stanfield had surrendered himself to authorities and resigned from his jailer’s job in December 2006. After being charged, he was released on $5,000 bond.

The case was dismissed against Stanfield Monday.

Southwestern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Cecilia Cooper said Thursday that Stanfield’s attorney, James N. Finklestein of Albany, had filed a motion in Sumter Superior Court to suppress Stanfield’s statement. Superior Court Judge James Sizemore granted that motion and Cooper late appealed that decision to the Court of Appeals. The higher court upheld Sizemore’s decision.

“Without Sizemore’s statement, I decided not to go forward with the case,” Cooper said.

Finklestein issued the following statement via email on Thursday.

“On behalf of my client, Mr. Wesley Stanfield, I wish to inform you that Mr. Stanfield is not guilty of any criminal offense charged in the above indictment, and all charges have been dismissed, ending the criminal prosecution which commenced with an indictment returned in February of 2007, accusing him of crimes alleged to have been committed in 2001.

“The record in that case shows that counts 2 and 3 of the indictment, which charged Mr. Stanfield with False Imprisonment and Child Molestation of Christina (Johnson) Van Sickle in the latter part of 2001, were dismissed by order of Southwestern Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge James Sizemore on April 11, 2007, because the statute of limitations had expired years earlier. The remaining count 1, which charged him with rape, was dismissed by Judge Sizemore on March 31, 2008, on motion of the District Attorney.

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