Indictment: Ex-judge sexually assaulted women seeking help with traffic violations 

A former Hart County probate judge was indicted Thursday on allegations he forcibly kissed and groped three women, who asked for assistance in reducing or eliminating their traffic charges and subsequent punishments, U.S. Attorney General Charles E. Peeler said in a news release. 

Bobby Joe Smith, 77, of Hartwell, faces one count of bribery and three counts of civil rights violations in the alleged sexual assaults committed between May 2013 and May 2014. None of the women consented to Smith’s advances. 

RELATED: Report raises questions about truth of Shafer sex harassment complaint

In the first alleged assault, which initially began in May 2013, the woman sought Smith’s help with three separate traffic incidents — including a DUI charge believed to be her third. Smith told her she’d be on “private probation” with him and required her to report to his office regularly to make cash payments to him, according to the indictment. 

In several of their meetings, Smith allegedly sexually assaulted the woman, including one incident in which it’s suspected he put his hands down her skirt and grabbed her while she was holding her young niece. The woman’s traffic charges and fines were eventually reduced by Smith, who resigned in May 2014 following his arrest in the allegations, according to the Athens Banner-Herald

Officials say Smith continued with the assaults in October 2013, touching a second woman on her breasts and attempting to “put his hand underneath her shirt to touch her breast,” according to the indictment. On one occasion, Smith allegedly showed the woman his genitals and forced her to touch them. The victim pulled her hand away. Smith tried to unzip her pants, the indictment alleges, but the woman backed away. 

ALSO: Tex McIver masseuse responds to affair rumors: ‘1,000 percent never!’

During their meetings, Smith would lock the door to his chambers and blocked the woman from leaving, according to the indictment. On another occasion, Smith allegedly called the woman and asked her if she knew a place where they could have sex. 

The victim was sentenced for her traffic violations by another judge in August 2016. 

The third victim approached Smith in May 2014 regarding a “super speeder” ticket she received in Bryan County. Smith called the Bryan County probate court and falsely told the person who answered that the victim was his granddaughter, according to the indictment. Once the conversation ended, Smith told the woman he’d contact her if he heard back from the county about the charges. 

When she got up to leave, Smith leaned in for a kiss on the lips and touched the woman’s breasts, the indictment alleges. As she pulled away, Smith’s grip tightened around her. The woman told Smith “no,” managing to get out of his grip. 

She left the office and did not meet with him again. Her charges were resolved by a Bryan County judge in May 2015. 

Smith is expected to have his initial court appearance April 25. 

In other news:

Next Up in Local

Henry County restaurant inspection scores

Henry County • Chick-fil-A, 1321 Highway 20, McDonough. 99/A • Dollar Express Chinese Restaurant, 109 Willow Lane, McDonough. 70/C • Ranchero Mexican Restaurant, 903 Highway 138, Stockbridge. 83/B • Subway, 6994 Highway 42, Locust Grove. 75/C
Gwinnett County restaurant inspection scores

Gwinnett County • 89 Hot Pot, 2180 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth. 81/B • El Sinaloense, 2077 Beaver Ruin Road, Norcross. 90/A • Poke Rock, 911 Duluth Highway, Lawrenceville. 96/A • Taqueria La Esperanza, 6075 Singleton Road, Norcross. 85/B • Will Henry’s Tavern at Sugarloaf, 3315 Sugarloaf Parkway, Lawrenceville. 89/B
Fulton County restaurant inspection scores

Fulton County • 10 Degrees South, 4183 Roswell Road, Atlanta. 100/A • Pitt Boss BBQ, 856 Virginia Ave., Hapeville. 85/B • Soul Vegetarian South, 879 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd., Atlanta. 80/B • The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill, 1105 Canton St., Roswell. 100/A • The Varsity, 61 North Ave., Atlanta. 90/A
Forsyth County restaurant inspection scores

Forsyth County • Burger and Shake, 3040 Keith Bridge Road, Cumming. 100/A • Cinco Mexican Cantina, 5755 N. Vickery St., Cumming. 95/A • Jay’s Mexican Grill, 1545 McFarland Parkway, Alpharetta. 96/A • Sal’s Place, 111 W. Courthouse Square, Cumming. 81/B • Steak ‘n Shake, 930 Buford Highway, Cumming. 86/B
Abandoned Acworth house near elementary school destroyed in fire
Abandoned Acworth house near elementary school destroyed in fire

An abandoned home in Acworth burned down Tuesday afternoon, authorities said. No one was injured in the blaze at 5471 Priest Road, which is less than a mile from the Cherokee-Cobb line, said Tim Cavender with Cherokee’s fire department. Someone called 911 about 3:30 p.m. to report at large amount of black smoke coming from near Clark Creek Elementary...
More Stories