Joseph Russell Dendy, 71-year-old former chair for the Republican party in Cobb County, Georgia, was indicted by a grand jury today on 13 counts of child molestation that spanned a period of 55 years.
Dendy, who was the GOP chairman in the deeply red state of Georgia as well as a campaign manager for State Representative Roger Hines, owned a travel agency and taught Sunday School alongside his wife at his local church for many years. The sexual assaults on two children, ages four and 12, occurred during their visits to the home of Dendy and his wife.
Dendy’s wife of 44 years, Billie, testified before the court that one victim reported the abuse to her in 1995. She believed her husband, however, when he denied the accusations.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
‘One victim, who is now 20, told police he was molested in 2007 or 2008, when he was 12 or 13 years old. A second victim said Dendy molested him in December 2011, according to police.’
Witnesses have corroborated the reports. Two of the incidents occurred targeting the same victim in 2011, when the boy was 11 years old, and again when the boy was 13. A third assault, against a victim who was only four years old, happened as recently as 2011.
The victims report that they were too embarrassed and afraid to report the incidences to police when they initially occurred. One told the court that Dendy threatened to kill his family if he told anyone about the abuse. The youngest was also a toddler when Dendy victimized him, and the arrest warrant stated that a witness reported seeing Dendy fondling the child, who was sitting on his lap, under his pull-up diaper.
The former GOP chair also has warrents for molesting yet another child, a young girl, in South Carolina. The victim in South Carolina is 11 years old and reported to her parents and police in March that an incident occurred in June of 2015 that Dendy asked her to play hide-and-seek and then grabbed the girl’s arm and refused to let her go. Shortly after, Dendy sexually victimized her, as well.
Both the 2011 and 2015 assaults occurred while Dendy was still serving as the GOP chair for Cobb County. The candidate for whom Dendy previously served as campaign manager, Representative Hines, once described the character of Joseph Russell Dendy as “impeccable.”
Charges were varied and spanned a range of categories.
‘On Thursday, Dendy was indicted on four counts of child molestation, four counts of first-degree cruelty to children, three counts of enticing a child for indecent purposes, and one count each of aggravated sexual battery and aggravated child molestation, the indictment states. He was being held without bond Monday at the Cobb jail.’
Dendy’s arrest warrant was issued on May 19, 2016, and for a small period of time, was considered a fugitive from justice. He was arrested at 9:00 AM on Friday, May 20, and has been held at the Cobb Jail without bond since his arrest.
Dendy has pled “not guilty” to all of the thirteen charges, and his attorney reports that he will be launching his own investigation.