Gwinnett County

68-year-old man accused of groping girls, parent at Gwinnett aquatic center

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — A 68-year-old man was arrested at a Gwinnett County aquatic center for allegedly groping girls and a parent while in the water.

William Hegwood,68, is facing child molestation charges among others after his arrest last Sunday at the Bethesda Park Aquatic Center.

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“When he gets arrested he just says sorry,” said the mother of one of the juvenile victims who was there when it happened. “We were like, ‘No, you’re not sorry because you do that on purpose.’”

The mother, who asked to remain anonymous, says both she and her 15-year-old daughter were groped by Hegwood while her family was at the aquatic center to celebrate a birthday.

It was around 3 p.m. on April 7, when the mother says she first realized Hegwood, who she doesn’t know, touched her rear-end while she was in the water. In part, because of his age, she believed his apology the first time she heard one from him.

“He just said sorry,” she told Channel 2′s Gwinnett County Bureau Chief Matt Johnson. “So I was like okay maybe it was an accident.”


She said she got out of the pool to check on her three younger children when her 15-year-old got out and came running toward her.

“She was in shock, crying and shaking,” she said. “She couldn’t even talk. She told me that Hegwood touched her, but it was worse because he went under her bikini.”

When the mother says her daughter pointed at him and told her what happened, Hegwood allegedly didn’t show remorse.

“She started crying and she was pointing to him and he looked at us and he started smiling,” she said.

The mother called Gwinnett County Police and an officer responded to the aquatic center. That’s when another parent told the officer that Hegwood also allegedly touched her 12-year-old daughter.

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“Once staff become aware of the situation, they activated their Emergency Action Plan, and followed protocols which include alerting authorities and documenting what happened,” said Deborah Tuff, Gwinnett County spokesperson.

Police arrested the 68-year-old and charged him with child molestation, sexual battery and simple battery. He remains in jail without bond because an officer deemed him a danger to the community.

The mother says her daughter is recovering but is still emotionally scarred. She hopes her story helps more parents be aware of what can happen in a matter of minutes.

“I don’t want him to be around other kids,” she said.