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Fayette deputy charged with viewing child porn

A longtime Fayette County Sheriff’s deputy was arrested March 13 after an investigation revealed that he had used his office computer to search for and view child pornography.

Sheriff Barry Babb said Dep. Harry “Butch” Parris was terminated for cause from the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office on Jan. 23. Parris was arrested March 13 and charged with sexual exploitation of children and violation of his oath of office.

Babb said the sheriff’s office requested the assistance of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) on Oct. 26, 2012 after learning that Parris may have violated a criminal statute.

“The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office turned over the preliminary information that had been collected and requested a full investigation. The GBI has been the lead agency since the inception of the investigation with full cooperation from the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office,” Babb said.

Parris had been an employee of the sheriff’s office since March 1993. He became a certified officer in November 1995. Since his employment began with Fayette County, Parris worked as a deputy sheriff in the jail division, said Babb.

GBI agents on March 13 briefed Babb and District Attorney Scott Ballard as to the status of the investigation and it was determined that the arrest warrants should be issued.

Parris was arrested and charged with sexual exploitation of children and violation of oath of office for utilizing his office computer to search for and view child pornography. Parris was booked and fingerprinted at the Fayette County Jail before being transported to another holding facility, Babb said.

Babb said the case could be presented to the Grand Jury as early as April 24.

Parris in 1999 was nominated by the sheriff's office to be the Detention Officer of the Year. It was noted in the nomination that Parris "will do everything that is asked of him and more, expecting nothing in return." Parris personally made close to 400 transports of inmates in 1998, traveling more than 20,000 miles without an accident or breakdown in security, the nomination noted.

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