A former police officer for Clarke County was sentenced last week to 55 years in prison on charges of child molestation, enticing a child for indecent purposes, and violation of oath by a public officer.
The allegations towards Kristin Ward surfaced in 2015 about his conduct with the victim, a cadet with the Civil Air Patrol, between 2010 and 2011. Once the investigation started, Ward was suspended with pay. When the Georgia Bureau of Investigation found there was probable cause to arrest Ward for his conduct toward the cadet, he was fired from his position as a police officer.
Three juveniles in total have made claims against Ward.
In most cases with public officers committing crimes, there is a connection between the offense and the public officer's official duties. This is where the violation of oath comes into play in Ward's charges. Let's dive deeper into that charge.
Georgia Law on Violation of Oath by a Public Officer
The Georgia Code defines violation of oath by public officer in Georgia as:
Any public officer who willfully and intentionally violates the terms of his oath as prescribed by law shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years. O.C.G.A. §16-10-1.
The State of Georgia must prove that the officer was administered an oath, that the oath was prescribed by law, and that the officer violated the terms of that oath.
Examples in Georgia Cases
Reynolds v. State, 3334 Ga. App. 496 (2015)
Officer violated oath by not observing all rules, order, and regulations of police department when he coerced women into giving him sexual favors in exchange for not arresting them.
Gaskins v. State, 318 Ga. App. 8 (2012)
Officer violated oath by abusing her position as an officer when she committed identity fraud by using someone else's social security number to set up a mobile account.
A charge for violation of oath by a public officer should not be taken lightly. If you or a loved one has been charged with this crime, you need the help of a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer. As you can see from the statute and the case law, a public officer does not even need to be on duty in order to violate their oath. There are numerous ways that an officer can violate their oath. However, no one should be assumed guilty just because they were accused of a crime. You need the representation of a lawyer who is familiar with Georgia Criminal Defenses and Georgia law. Contact us today.