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4-year-old molestation charges linger against former cop

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

More than four years after he was accused of molesting two teenage girls, a Hampton man is pleading with prosecutors to either prosecute him, or officially drop the charges.

"After all this time, they've got the thing still hanging over him. They can hang this thing over his head until 2010, and he can't get any job with charges pending," said Lee Sexton, the attorney representing Kenneth Jerome Alexander as he faces the felony allegations.

Alexander was a Jonesboro police officer in 2003, when, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, he inappropriately touched two 14-year-old girls, exposed himself to them and took pictures of the high schoolers while they were half-clothed. The two girls said the incident happened at a concrete plant in Jonesboro, and the uniformed officer said he wanted "sexy pictures."

Alexander was fired, but the case languished until 2007.

When Alexander was hired as a body guard for an interim school superintendent -- without any sort of background check -- the Clayton News Daily published an investigative report on his hiring, and another on the way the case, like more than 750 cases, was apparently untouched in the District Attorney's office.

Alexander was dismissed by the school district, at about the same time, and was later indicted on the felony charges by a grand jury. The indictment was thrown out, however, because it was done incorrectly.

Law enforcement officers have the right to face a grand jury and defend themselves, but the attorneys in Jewel Scott's prosecutor's office didn't tell Alexander, or his lawyer about the hearing. The case was cited, by opponents seeking to unseat Scott in the 2008 election, as an example of her office's alleged inefficiency.

Scott argued that Alexander didn't have the rights of a police officer because he wasn't acting in "official capacity," when he allegedly took two girls and a camera behind a cement truck, but the indictment specifically charged him with a violation of his law enforcement oath. Investigative files show that he was allegedly on duty, and in uniform, and the camera he used was owned by the city police department.

Scott said the case took so long to bring before a grand jury because of limited resources and a rise in crime, and said the case was difficult because the witnesses were hard to locate after more than four years.

As of Friday, the district attorney's office was reportedly still attempting to locate one of the alleged victims, a girl who spoke out against a police officer in her freshman year of high school, and then saw nothing happen.

Sexton said the long, lingering prosecution is punishing Alexander without giving him a trial. Alexander can't work as a police officer while under investigation, and has lost jobs because of the charges, which he's not being given the chance to fight.

"The sad part about it is, Ken Alexander is completely innocent," Sexton said.

The district attorney, who did not win re-election and will leave office in December, did not return phone calls seeking comment. Her chief prosecutor, John Turner, said the case against Alexander is still active, the statute of limitations hasn't expired, but prosecution still hinges on the missing, "unavailable" victim.

Turner said Scott does plan to make a move before her term expires, though.

"She's going to do something," he said. "One way or another."