A former Douglasville policeman was charged with child molestation in Carroll County after a local victim saw news accounts of his arrest on similar charges in Cobb County.
Matthew Darren Atkins, 55, of Dallas, Georgia, was being held Wednesday afternoon at the Carroll County Jail on one charge of child molestation. Jail records showed that bond was denied in the case.
On March 10, Atkins was arrested on three counts of child molestation by Cobb County police, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Atkins is a former police officer with the Austell Police Department, but had resigned that position before his arrest, according to Ashley Hulsey, Carroll County information officer. The AJC reported that Atkins previously worked for the police departments in both Powder Springs and Douglasville.
Hulsey said Wednesday that a victim in Carroll County saw news reports about Atkins’ arrest in Cobb and on March 19 made an allegation to Carroll County deputies that she had been molested by Atkins several years ago.
Local investigators arrested Atkins on Tuesday, Hulsey said.
“The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office would like to commend this young lady for her courage in coming forward and disclosing this heinous act to the proper authorities,” the sheriff’s office said in a press release.
The Atlanta newspaper reported that Atkins had been accused of three counts of molestation and one count of violation of oath by a public officer in connection with at least three acts involving a 7-year-old girl.
Quoting an arrest warrant, the AJC said the man was accused of touching the girl inappropriately on several occasions as well as committing an indecent act in front of the child. The alleged crimes took place in February and earlier in March.
Calls to the Cobb County Police by the Times-Georgian were unreturned.
The Atlanta newspaper quoted Atkins’ records with Georgia’s Peace Officers Standards and Training Council (P.O.S.T) that he had been employed with the Austell Police Department since February 2017 and had been promoted to sergeant in December 2018.
In December 2014, he resigned as a police sergeant in Douglasville “in lieu of termination.” The AJC reported that P.O.S.T records showed he was accused of using his city-issued computer to buy illegal steroids. After which, the newspaper said, his P.O.S.T. certification was put on probation for 36 months and he was required to undergo drug screens.
The P.O.S.T. record also showed Atkins worked for the Powder Springs Police Department from 1991 until March 2002 and he joined the Douglasville Police Department the following month.
Douglasville Police Maj. J.R. Davidson said DPD had no comment.