Paulding County, GA — Police sexual misconduct is one of America's dirty little secrets. Barely a day goes by without news of a law enforcement officer's arrest for raping adults and children alike. There are so many instances of officers arrested for sexual misconduct that the Free Thought Project cannot report on all of them. However, when exceedingly disturbing cases involving school cops raping students they are tasked with protecting or cops who work with child victims betraying that trust and preying on children they're allegedly trying to help, we are compelled to do so. The following story out of Georgia is one of these cases.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested 48-year-old Paulding County deputy Steve Sorrells last week on two counts of child molestation and violation of oath of office. While news of a cop molesting a child is not too shocking — because it happens so often — Sorrells' position in law enforcement makes it so. Prior to his arrest, he was a detective assigned to the juvenile investigation’s division at the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office.
It gets worse.
In February of last year, this alleged child predator was teaching kids how to avoid child predators on line. This detective, whose job consisted of working with children taught Internet Safety Day to children at Rockmart Middle School. Then, in November 2018 he was presented the Commissioner’s Public Safety Award in Paulding County for his efforts, wait for it, of keeping local children safe.
A year after receiving an award for keeping children safe, this man was arrested for preying on children.
According to a post on the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office's Facebook page, they received a complaint on November 14 — exactly one year and one day after Sorrells received his award — with allegations that Sorrells had inappropriate sexual contact with a minor. They immediately referred the case to the GBI who launched their investigation.
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At that point, Sorrells was placed on paid administrative leave and removed from all of his official duties as a Detective. In the morning hours of November 25, 2019 Sorrells came to the Sheriff’s Office to speak with Agents regarding the incident. As a result of that meeting, he was subsequently arrested. As soon as he was arrested, he was terminated as an employee of the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Gary Gulledge stated, “I am disgusted that one of our own has been arrested and charged with child molestation. This type of behavior will not be condoned in our office nor in any law enforcement agency in the county. Our focus is on the victims in this case; we want to make sure they get the justice and compassion they deserve.” He further stated, “This incident has tarnished the badge that we all wear so proudly. We will do everything in our power to assist the GBI during this investigation.”
Indeed, it certainly tarnishes the badge when police officers — the ones who claim to protect us — are caught preying on society's most vulnerable, children. However, there are a lot of sad days as this situation plays out like a broken record, over and over again.
As TFTP has reported before, pedophiles often seek out positions of power and authority over children so they are in a position to abuse. Priests, teachers, coaches, police officers, counselors, and others are just some of the fields in which pedophiles will attempt to gain employment. Unfortunately, it's not the first time we have reported on police officers using their badge and so-called "authority" to molest children.
As TFTP has reported, a study exposed the startling fact that police officers are arrested about 1,100 times a year, or roughly three officers charged every day. Many of these arrests are over unspeakable sex crimes against children.