A felony theft charge against Bennett Oliver, the former director of the Douglasville Parks and Recreation Department, has been dismissed as part of an agreement reached with the Douglas County District Attorney's Office, DA Brian Fortner announced Thursday.
Oliver was initially arrested and charged with felony theft by taking in May of 2016 by the Douglasville Police Department for alleged theft of equipment from West Pines Golf Course. He resigned as parks and recreation director effective June 30, 2016.
Fortner said the the DA's office thoroughly investigated the charges. After extensive negotiations between Oliver, his attorney Michael Hubbard, and the DA's Office, Oliver, who had no previous criminal history, entered a pre-trial diversion agreement, Fortner said.
"As a part of the pre-trial diversion agreement, Oliver admitted that the Douglasville Police Department had probable cause at the time for his arrest," Fortner said. "Oliver also paid a $1,000 fine, performed 40 hours of community service and the property was returned undamaged to the city of Douglasville."
Fortner said Oliver completed the terms of the agreement at the end of June and that all charges have been dismissed.
Hubbard issued a statement to the Sentinel this week on behalf of his client.
"Mr. Oliver, without any admission of guilt, entered into an agreement with the District Attorney's Office that resulted in all of his charges being dismissed, and his record was cleared," Hubbard said. "We consider the matter closed and appreciate the efforts and consideration of Brian Fortner and his office."
Fortner said, "As a community we expect the trust we place in our civil servants to be honored with the utmost integrity. Those who violate that trust will be held accountable, and I believe this result was just. As a first time offender of a non-violent crime, Mr. Oliver was eligible to complete the pre-trial diversion program created for the purpose of allowing individuals with no criminal history who commit first time, non-violent offenses to perform community service, pay a fine and any restitution owed to the victim, and complete their case without a felony conviction."