A Catoosa County, Ga., sheriff's deputy fired nine months ago was arrested Thursday, accused of having oral sex with a 16-year-old girl and taking sexual photos of her.
Stephen Crossen, an officer with 10 years of experience between the Catoosa and Walker County sheriff's offices, was indicted on 14 different charges related to the sex act which, according to the indictment, took place between the Feb. 19 and Feb. 28.
The charges include six counts of sexual exploitation, five counts of dissemination of pornography to minors, and one count each of sodomy and interference with custody.
After Crossen took the photos of the teenager while she was masturbating, he then distributed them, the indictment states.
Having sex with a 16-year-old is not illegal because it is the age of consent in Georgia, but Catoosa County Sheriff's Office Maj. Gary Sisk said enticing a 16-year-old to have her photo taken in a sexual act is illegal.
The teenager was the daughter of a friend or acquaintance of Crossen's, Sisk said, and when the parents found out they immediately reported the incident to the sheriff's office.
Crossen, who was a deputy with Catoosa County for more than five years, was fired when Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents were called to investigate and decided the allegations were true, Sisk said.
Crossen's attorney, McCracken Poston, said his client has cooperated with the investigation but declined to comment further.
On Thursday morning, Crossen agreed to turn himself in at the Catoosa County Jail, but when he didn't show up investigators decided to hunt for him.
As authorities were about to leave the sheriff's office parking lot, Crossen jumped out of his truck, waved his hands in the air and shouted: "I'm here." He then was booked into the jail.
Before Crossen worked for Catoosa County, he was a jailer and deputy for the Walker County Sheriff's Office for four years, records show.
Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...