COVINGTON, Ga. — A 45-year-old man has been arrested for crimes that allegedly occurred in Newton County and other parts of the country following a joint law enforcement agency investigation into online exploitation and child molestation.
On Friday, Oct. 15, federal marshals arrested Derrick Crooms of Newton County and charged him with two counts each of Incest, Aggravated Sexual Battery, Aggravated Child Molestation and Child Molestation; and one count of Enticing a Child for Indecent Purposes.
Crooms was being held without bond in the Newton County Detention Center.
Newton County Sheriff’s Office , GBI, and Oconee County Sheriff’s Office worked jointly on the case, the GBI stated in a news release.
GBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Lindsay Marchant said in the release that, "In December 2020, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit received a request for assistance from the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office in the investigation of numerous sex offenses against children by Crooms.
"The investigation revealed that these crimes allegedly occurred in Newton County, Georgia, as well as several different locations throughout the United States," Marchant said.
The GBI asked the U.S. Marshals Service to assist with locating and capturing Crooms on his criminal charges. The Marshals Service arrested Crooms in Stone Mountain following a tip received by a marshal and transported him to the Newton County Jail.
Crooms had been convicted before on similar charges. In 2017, Crooms was able to convince a judge to remove his name from the sex offender registry, Fox5 News reported.
During many of the offenses committed by Crooms, he was married to and traveling around the country with Rachel Overton.
Overton was a traveling nurse and the investigation determined that she became aware of Crooms’ criminal acts and failed to report them to law enforcement, a news release stated.
She also was charged with Cruelty to Children-3rd Degree and Failure to Report as a Mandated Reporter. Overton was taken into custody Feb. 23 with the assistance of the Racine County Sheriff’s Office in Wisconsin.
She was later extradited to Oconee County and released on bail shortly afterwards.
The investigation was part of the ongoing effort by the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, housed within the GBI’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit, to identify those involved in the child pornography trade.
"The ICAC Program, created by the U.S. Department of Justice, was developed in response to the increasing number of children and teens using the Internet, the proliferation of child sexual abuse material, and the heightened online activity by predators searching for unsupervised contact with underage victims," the release stated.
Anyone with information about other cases of child exploitation is asked to contact the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Child Exploitation Unit at 404-270-8870. Anonymous tips can also be submitted by calling 1-800-597-TIPS(8477), online at https://gbi.georgia.gov/submit-tips-online, or by downloading the See Something, Send Something mobile app.