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Rockdale deputy arrested for child molestation
Joseph Harding

A deputy with the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office was arrested and fired on Thursday afternoon following accusations of child molestation in Conyers.

Joseph Robert Harding, 23, of Conyers, was arrested by the Conyers Police Department on May 23, following an investigation into claims that he molested a 13-year-old female acquaintance who was known to him. The molestation reportedly occured during April 2013.

Conyers police notified the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office about the investigation, said Chief Deputy Scott Freeman. The RCSO conducted an immediate internal investigation. Following the arrest and subsequent internal investigation, Harding was terminated by the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office. Harding had worked in the jail since September 2012.

Harding is charged with Aggravated Child Molestation and Aggravated Sodomy. He is being held in a neighboring county jail without bond.

"We worked with the Conyers Police Department as they conducted their investigation and swiftly terminated Harding following his arrest," said Sheriff Eric Levett. "Unfortunately, this is another example of an employee not representing the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office in the high standard of conduct and professionalism that the citizens of this county deserve