I-TEAM: Additional inappropriate sexual conduct uncovered at Richmond County Sheriff’s Office
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The I-TEAM recently uncovered sex scandals between deputies in the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office – but those aren’t the only scandals.
We’ve uncovered another one.
Unlike the other cases, this one didn’t involve a relationship between two deputies; this one involved a deputy and a woman who called 911.
TROUBLED RECORD EMERGING FOR RCSO DEPUTIES AND RCSO SEX SCANDAL
SEPT. 20, 2023: Capt. Brandon Beckman and his subordinate Deputy Allison “Allie” Walker are fired after disciplinary reports showed they lied about having an inappropriate relationship with each other. According to documents the I-TEAM obtained from Internal Affairs, Beckman lied three times during interviews about a relationship with Walker. Records state he also failed a polygraph test. He only admitted to the relationship after that. Walker’s report shows she lied twice and was scheduled to take a polygraph, but she admitted to an inappropriate relationship with her supervisor during her pre-polygraph interview, so she never took the test.
OCT. 12, 2023: Two supervisors are demoted after, disciplinary reports note, they had sex with each other on duty. Documents show then-Cpl. Melissa Allen had the microphone open on her radio while “engaging in sexual intercourse” with then-Sgt. Aunarey Herbert “in a public place.”
DEPUTY HAS SEX ON DUTY WITH COMPLAINANT
During our I-TEAM investigation, we discovered a third, separate incident. However, this is the one that involved a deputy and a woman who called 911.
Disciplinary records for then-Deputy Joshua Williams show he admitted to having sex with her.
The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office investigated.
He was suspended and then went back to answering calls. He was also put on probation for one year.
INVESTIGATING THE INVESTIGATORS
The incident with Williams occurred in October 2022 but after a recent tip about it to the I-TEAM, we began looking into what happened. Our investigation raises serious questions about how the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office investigates itself.
The woman Williams had sex with while he was on duty is now living out of the area.
“I packed my stuff up and I left town,” said Haley, who asked that we not use her last name or identify where she is living now.
Haley was surprised to learn from the I-TEAM that Williams was still on the force. Haley said no one from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office ever reached out to her. She says no one had asked her what happened on that Oct. 20, 2022, call until the I-TEAM contacted her.
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According to disciplinary records, Deputy Williams admitted to Sheriff Richard Roundtree and top command staff he had “sexual intercourse” on duty, and it wasn’t with a girlfriend or anyone he knew.
Documents say it was a “complainant on the call,” meaning someone calling for help.
It wasn’t that difficult for the I-TEAM to use public records to figure out who that someone was.
After a few open records requests, we even had body cam video.
It shows then-Deputy Williams arriving at the Super 8 Motel on Washington Road in Augusta. The case report shows he was responding to a call regarding “harassing phone calls” Haley says she was receiving from someone else. You can hear Haley tell Williams, “I am scared,” as she hands him her phone.
As the body cam continues to play, Williams can be seen scrolling through Haley’s text messages. Even more text messages arrive. Haley tells the deputy she is pregnant. He tells her he is going to file “a harassing communications charge.”
BODY CAM SHOWS DEPUTY TAKES PROPERTY
While at the scene of the call, body cam video shows a hotel employee approach Williams, who follows the hotel employee to another room. There the employee hands over an ammo magazine with several bullets inside it and tells him, “I don’t know if it was stolen or something.”
Williams takes the magazine, and his body cam captures him open several drawers in the empty hotel room.
Back at his patrol vehicle with Haley, the last thing Williams’ body cam captures is him telling Haley when she can pick up a copy of the incident report. He then turns his body cam off. Its time stamp is 18:34:25 – or 6:34 p.m.
MOTEL SECURITY CAM SHOWS DEPUTY WALKING TOWARD MOTEL
According to the disciplinary report, the view of the Super 8 camera shows Williams exiting his vehicle and walking to the room. Williams did not clear the call until 18:44 hours, 10 minutes after he turned off his bodycam.
The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office only discovered what happened when a lieutenant learned Williams left part of his uniform – “2 belt keepers” – in a hotel room while on a call, according to the disciplinary report. When asked about it, the report shows he admitted he left the belt keepers after “having sexual intercourse.”
Meredith Anderson: “If he hadn’t left part of his uniform in your room, do you think anyone would have ever found out?”
Haley: “I don’t think so. Part of me is glad that he left some of his uniform in the room.”
Haley says she’s had a rough past. She told the I-TEAM she lived on the street and even worked as an escort before. She says she wasn’t working that day; she was hiding from an ex.
A year later, Haley has had time to think about what happened.
Meredith Anderson: “Do you feel like you were taken advantage of?”
Haley: “Honestly, yes. I did.”
While she says she didn’t tell Williams “no” that day, looking back, she realizes there was a power imbalance.
“Him being in uniform,” Haley said. “I knew I didn’t really have much of a voice.”
DEPUTY IS SUSPENDED
Williams was suspended for 10 days and put on probation for a year for “conduct unbecoming.” Disciplinary documents show when the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office went to look for his body cam to further investigate, he had not turned in the body cam for this shift and two others. He was also suspended a day for that.
Reports note supervisors also saw Williams on body cam take the magazine of bullets from the hotel room. Investigators note in the report that Williams did not report the property taken from Super 8 Motel. When asked about it, documents state he said they were “at his house.” The report goes on to say he was suspended a day for that, too , but notes he later turned them in to the property room.
In disciplinary records, Richmond County Chief Deputy Patrick Clayton recommended to fire Williams, but others involved in the decision – including Sheriff Richard Roundtree himself – disagreed. Documents say apologized and said he would seek professional help.
Haley says she is just glad she finally gets to tell her story.
“I’m glad that someone reached out,” she said. “Because this is not right.”
TROUBLES CONTINUE FOR DEPUTY
After a 10-day suspension, Williams returned to road patrol answering calls. However, his personnel file shows last February, he was pulled from road patrol and sent to work at the county jail after four accidents in his patrol car in three years, all of which were listed as his fault.
RICHMOND COUNTY SHERIFF NOT COMMENTING
Roundtree refused to comment on the incident involving Williams having sex with a woman who called for help. Through an email to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, the I-TEAM also requested to interview Williams. The public information officer has not responded to our two requests to speak to Williams.
The full investigation so far ...
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