Forsyth County

Former Forsyth County chief deputy to be sentenced on child porn charges Friday

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. — A former Forsyth County Sheriff’s deputy will be sentenced this week after his conviction on child exploitation charges.

On Nov. 10, 2020, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested Grady Sanford after it received a tip that photos of child sexual abuse had been uploaded to the internet via email.

After opening the investigation, the GBI traced the computer IP address to Sanford’s physical address. Agents then obtained a warrant to search his home, which resulted in his arrest.

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Authorities did not specify what they found when they searched his home.

“To say this is a shock is a gross understatement. We intentionally set our standards high at Forsyth County. Regardless of rank, every employee must meet those moral and legal standards,” Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman said at the time of Sanford’s arrest. “There is no room for this type of crime in our State, and certainly not in the law enforcement profession. Our trust and that of our community has been betrayed. I’ve made a commitment to be transparent, even when one of our own employees does wrong. No one is exempt, and no one is above the law.”

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The GBI notified Freeman before executing the warrant. Freeman told Channel 2 Action News that he fired Sanford immediately once investigators told him what they found.

Sanford was charged and convicted of 16 counts of sexual exploitation of children, according to court documents.

He is set to be sentenced in Cherokee County on Friday.

The ICAC and GBI urge anyone with information about child exploitation cases to contact the GBI’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes unit at 404-270-8870.

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