Former Varnell Police officer indicted for sexual battery in gas station incident

Patrick Hayes, a former police officer for the Varnell Police Department, has been officially indicted after being charged for sexual battery at a gas station last year. (Images: Whitfield County Jail, WTVC)

A former police officer has been officially indicted for sexual battery in a gas station incident last year.

The Whitfield County Sheriff's Office (WCSO) said in a report that on July 5th, 2018, an engaged couple were fueling up at the Circle K convenience store at 4187 Georgia Highway 2 in Cohutta.

According to the sheriff's office, Sergeant Patrick Hayes with the Varnell Police Department struck up a conversation with the couple. The WCSO said they both knew Hayes.

The report says as they were leaving, Hayes slapped the woman on the backside. She said she told Hayes not to do that, at which he replied, "Do you want it again?"

When she said no and quickly got into the car, she told police she felt Hayes' hand graze her backside again.

Her fiance corroborated the story, telling police he'd seen Hayes slap the woman, and her immediate response to the officer. They filed the incident report after getting home.

According to the Varnell Police Department's report, surveillance video backed up the woman's claims. The department says Hayes was immediately suspended without pay.

Hayes resigned ahead of being fired. He had been with Varnell PD for 11 years.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was called to investigate the incident, and in June, a Whitfield County grand jury indicted Hayes for sexual battery.

This is a developing story and will be updated as we learn more.

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