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A Hamilton County sheriff's deputy, placed in a public school as a resource officer to protect students, has been arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated statutory rape.

Deputy Jeff Edwin Baker was suspended with pay in December, and on Tuesday he was arrested and charged, according to department spokeswoman Janice Atkinson.

Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond was made aware of the alleged incidents in November, she said.

"Although these are just allegations at this time, we still take them very seriously," Sheriff Hammond said. "The decision was made to proceed with a criminal complaint, and now we will allow the judicial system to do its part and bring this to a conclusion."

Both charges are related to a single juvenile female, authorities said.

Investigators believe one incident occurred at East Ridge Middle School, where Deputy Baker was assigned as the school resource officer. The second incident is believed to have occurred at a local apartment complex.

Ms. Atkinson would not say whether the victim was a student at the middle school or at the nearby high school.

East Ridge police notified the sheriff of the allegations, the sheriff's investigators looked into the matter and then handed the case over to District Attorney General Bill Cox's office.

This is the second allegation of a sex crime against a deputy in uniform in recent years. James E. Spates faces four charges of sexual battery by an authority figure and charges of official misconduct after a juvenile female alleged that he touched her improperly while taking her to a juvenile lock-up.

Mr. Spates was fired the same day he was arrested, but Deputy Baker remains on paid administrative leave, officials said.

"Anytime a situation like this happens, it saddens all of us," Sheriff Hammond said. "We are committed, however, to provid(ing) a safe environment for all the citizens of Hamilton County."

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