Joseph Dendy, former chairman of the Cobb County, Georgia Republican Party, was arrested on Friday, May 20 and charged with child molestation, reports AJC. The specific charges Dendy faces, aggravated child molestation and child molestation, are both felony charges.
The former party chair also received another charge later on Friday — fugitive. The reason for this charge is that he is also wanted by police departments in Michigan and South Carolina for allegations of sexual abuse.
As for the charges in Cobb, Dendy has been accused of molesting two boys, ages 4 and 12, at separate times in his home. The incidents were several years apart; one victim reports being molested in 2007 or 2008, while the other reports being molested in 2011.
Dendy’s attorney, William McKenney, said in an email to the Marietta Daily Journal that Dendy will plead not guilty to all charges.
‘Mr. Dendy will plead not guilty to all charges and will commence his own independent investigation into the motivation and credibility of individuals now claiming acts which allegedly occurred over nine years ago and which were never reported to anyone.’
Dendy served two two-year terms as Cobb GOP chair, and was the succeeded by his vice-chair, Rose Wing. Reacting to the news about Dendy’s arrest, Wing told the Marietta Daily Journal, “I’m shocked upon hearing the news.” She continued:
‘Right now I know no details. Nothing. I feel it would be inappropriate for me to make any comments, one, that I don’t know any details, and No. 2, it’s a pending case at this time, and it would be just highly inappropriate for me to make any comments not knowing any details and with a pending case at this point.’
Seemingly after learning of the news of his arrest, some who are affiliated with Dendy seem to be attempting to distance themselves from him. Dendy, upon leaving his position as Cobb GOP chair, went on to work as the state director of party development for the Georgia GOP. When the MDJ called the party’s office inquiring after Dendy, they were told that “he doesn’t work here anymore.”
MyAJC points out that Dendy is not the first prominent politician from Cobb County to face such charges. In December of last year, Kennesaw councilman and former mayor Leonard Church was sentenced to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of child molestation and four counts of sexual exploitation of children.
Other well-known Republicans have also been in the news recently for sexual assault and child molestation charges. Dennis Hastert, former House Speaker, has actually sought probation for his crimes against minors, using poor health and the weight of public shame as reasons to be spared time in prison. Hastert made the news not only because of his crimes but because of his history of saying that child molesters who are repeat offenders should face life sentences. New Hampshire Rep. Kyle Tasker was also arrested for drug possession and intent to sexually assault a minor and was forced to resign from his position over the charges.
Featured image via Cobb County Sheriff’s Office.