CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. — Folks in Cherokee County were pretty shocked when they found out about this man’s arrest.
He’s charged with sexual exploitation of children and obscene internet contact with children.
Parents whose kids play youth sports in Cherokee County may recognize Brent Parton, 38. He's been a referee for the county's recreation and parks basketball league and an umpire and district director with Dizzy Dean Baseball for years..
"My first thing is, you never know what people do in their private lives," Chris Landry, a man who knew and worked with Parton told Channel 2's Christian Jennings.
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Parton is charged with two counts of obscene internet conduct with children and sexual exploitation of children that involves pornography
Investigators spent weeks building a case against Parton. Detectives say he thought he was "sexting" a 12-year-old girl when in reality it was a Cherokee County deputy.
Detectives say they're learning more about Parton's history.
The Cherokee County Sheriff's Office made the arrest Tuesday night. Detectives found out he was refereeing a basketball game at Knox Elementary in Canton, so they waited until he left and pulled him over on Knox Bridge Highway.
"I'm in total shock. I just couldn't believe it," Landry said.
Landry is the national director for Dizzy Dean Baseball. He's worked with the Parton family for decades.
"Brent has been removed. I went ahead and made an executive decision," Landry said.
He said Parton officiated many of his grandkids' games.
"If he’s guilty, I’m glad he got caught because I can’t imagine what I would do if it was my granddaughter," Landry said.
Parton isn't a county employee. The county contracts out their referees.
The Parks and Recreation Department director said Parton will no longer officiate their games.
They also told Jennings that Parton has never been arrested before. He passed a background check in January.
Cox Media Group