A former Georgia sheriff’s deputy has been sentenced to 19 years in prison after he negotiated a plea deal, WGXA reported.
Kevin Harden, who was a deputy with the Jones County Sheriff’s Office, was arrested after a tip to the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force led to revelations that Harden was in possession of explicit child sex abuse materials. A search warrant on his home uncovered devices containing child pornography.
He was initially charged with two counts of sexual exploitation of children and two counts of distribution of child pornography. He negotiated a guilty plea to one count of sexual exploitation and was sentenced to19 years in prison followed by one year of probation.
In a statement to WGXA, District Attorney Wright Barksdale said that Harden’s plea deal “came after a meeting that was conducted at my office where myself, Mr. Harden’s attorney, and special agent Ethan Brown met to discuss the evidence in the case, and the potential for a quick resolution of the case.”
“What resulted was a joint sentence of 20 years to serve 19 years in the Georgia Department of Corrections. Georgia law requires at least one year on probation for this charge. Thus, the above mentioned sentence is the maximum sentence one can received for said charge. In exchange, myself and the GBI agreed to dismiss the other three warrants against Mr. Harden,” Barksdale said.
“Obviously, the law enforcement community is extremely disappointed in Mr. Harden,” the statement continued. “His crimes are unspeakable, but he accepted responsibility immediately, and agreed to the maximum sentence. I appreciate the manner and integrity in which our sheriff and other law enforcement officers handled this matter which clearly shows that no one is above the law.”