News 12 at 6 o'clock, June 25, 2008
AUGUSTA, Ga -- A Richmond County deputy is on the other side of the law. Lindon Haworth is in jail charged with child molestation. He's accused of kissing a 14-year-old girl last June.
The victim's family says the long wait for his arrest is an injustice and today the victim's mother spoke exclusively to News 12.
The family says they are speaking out because they don't want another victim to face such a long wait "Frustration, disappointment in the justice system because I do have a child who has been terrified for over a year." says the girl's mother who did not want to be identified in order to protect her daughter.
It's been 54 full weeks or 381 long days since her daughter first came forward to say she was molested inside the Haworth's home.
He was a man she and her family once considered a friend. "How could you betray our trust and do that to our child? She's a child, not an adult."
At 48-years-old, Lindon Haworth is not only an adult, he was a trusted deputy within the Richmond County Sheriff's Office and a celebrated Iraqi war hero honored in 2004 with a Purple Heart.
"I knew I was in serious trouble and I wasn't afraid," Haworth told News 12 in an interview in May of 2004.
While he may have overcome a mortar attack, Haworth is now facing a different kind of battle -- indicted and charged with child molestation; accused of kissing a 14-year-old girl on the mouth.
"Well yeah, he did go overseas, he did get injured and he did get a Purple Heart for it but it doesn't make him infallible," says the girl's mother.
The accusations sparked a year long investigation by the Sheriff's Office and the GBI and now that Haworth is behind bars, this mother says she won't quit until he's convicted.
"We would like to see him rot in jail but at the bare minimum, be labeled a sex offender and not be allowed to live close to children again."
As to why this case took a year, News 12 called Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie strength who told us the GBI was handling the investigation -- our calls to GBI investigators were not returned.
We did speak with Haworth's attorney Martin Puetz who gave us this statement: "Up to this point, the only facts that have been made known are those of the alleged victim. At the trial, we will have the opportunity to present our side and our facts and I fully expect Mr. Haworth will be exonerated once the entire story is told."