by: Tom Regan Updated:DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. —
A former DeKalb County police officer who is accused of molesting his daughter's 13-year-old
friend choked back tears Friday as he denied the allegations and spoke of how it has impacted his life.
"I did not confess to any improper or illegal conduct of any sexual nature to anyone," said Manuel Williams.
Williams, an 18-year veteran of the police force, was arrested Wednesday on charges he groped the juvenile and exposed the teen and his daughter to pornography on a television.
At a news conference, the attorney for the accused former officer said the daughter stated to police that no explicit material was shown and her father did not touch her friend inappropriately.
"It's my confusion of how you could confuse someone making an innocent conduct of a hug nature into child molestation. I don't know how you could make that leap to a full confession," said defense lawyer Gerald Griggs.
On Wednesday, DeKalb County Police Chief Cedric Alexander said the former officer admitted to the allegations and resigned.
His lawyer said Williams did not admit to any conduct of a criminal nature and was told he could choose to resign or be fired.
"You're a dedicated officer, you're about to reach retirement age, and police level these types of allegations and using threats and profane
language -- you would do your best to remove yourself from that situation," Griggs said.
Williams, who is 49, said he will fight to clear his name and hopes to return to police work.
"My family, my friends, I know those people who truly support me, that is what I need to restore me to where I need to be, a DeKalb officer if possible," Williams said.