Attorneys for Franklin County Probate Judge Eddie Fowler say their client is innocent of the charge of sexual battery.
Fowler was charged earlier this week after an investigation by agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, according to Agent in Charge Jim Fullington.
“On Monday, August 20th, we were requested by the Franklin County Sheriff’s department to look into allegations of sexual battery,” Fullington said. “On Tuesday evening, Mr. Fowler was taken into custody and charged with one count of sexual battery. He was later released on bond from the Franklin County Detention Center.”
Franklin County Sheriff Stevie Thomas tells WLHR News because Fowler is a constitutional officer; he has turned the case over to the GBI. Late Wednesday, Fowler’s attorney, David Moore issued a prepared statement, in which he said quote,
“Judge Fowler adamantly denies the charge made against him. Judge Fowler has honorably served the citizens of Franklin County as probate judge for nearly sixteen (16) years and has done nothing wrong. When all of the facts come to light, we believe Judge Fowler will be completely exonerated. Judge Fowler is innocent and, although not required by law to prove his innocence, he looks forward to doing so.” End quote.
Fullington would not say who brought the complaint. Meantime, county manager Billy Morse said the matter is being looked into by county attorney Bubba Samuels.
Morse said he has spoken to the county Board of Commissioners but would not elaborate on what, if any, action might or could be taken. Fowler’s arrest came the same day voters elected his successor, Franklin County Deputy Assistant Sheriff Ken Eavenson, who won the seat from challenger Jay Baskins.
Fowler is due to retire at the end of the year.
By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia