Photo by Heather Middleton
By Kathy Jefcoats
A former state probation officer faces felony charges after a female probationer accused him of grabbing her buttocks, following a February visit at the Morrow probation office.
But the attorney for Walter Roderick Sellers, 40, of Marietta, said Sellers is guilty only of being unethical, not illegal, and could be exonerated with the recent discovery of new information.
"This case is ramping up," said attorney David West Wednesday. "There are some interesting aspects to the sequence of events that cause us to take a more aggressive posture. We're starting to get information that Rod was set up, and this is an absolutely artificially-created scenario."
West said the information he got in the last 24 hours is "dynamite" and he hopes it will change the course of the investigation.
Sellers was fired March 24, from his position as a state probation officer, after a sexual assault complaint was reported by a 24-year-old female probationer. Georgia Department of Corrections spokeswoman Kristen Stancil said Sellers was hired Sept. 16, but would not provide any additional information.
Attorney David West said Sellers denies that he grabbed the woman's buttocks. West does not deny, however, that his client exercised poor judgment in sending sexually-explicit photos of himself to the woman using his personal cell phone.
"I don't think he was quite ready for the level of professionalism required for that job," West said. "You cannot have the appearance of any impropriety in that position. He was all-too familiar with this woman, but there is no physical evidence, no videotape, no witnesses, to corroborate that he touched her."
According to Clayton Magistrate Court documents, Sellers told police he sent four nude images of himself to the woman, but that he was "wrong, inappropriate, and that he should not have done those things being a POST-certified probation officer."
The Georgia Department of Corrections is also investigating an allegation that Sellers engaged in a sexual relationship with another probationer.
Sellers will exercise his right as a POST-certified officer to attend the grand jury presentation of his case, said West. Grand jury proceedings are typically done outside the presence of the general public. One exception is when the accused is a member of law enforcement.
"I may also file a motion to dismiss this case based on this new evidence I hope to present," said West. "And then I will suggest to my client he file a police report in regards to the false allegations."
Sellers, 6 feet 9 inches tall, is a former University of Connecticut basketball standout and captain of the Huskies. He played center from 1988 to 1992. After college, and prior to becoming a probation officer, Sellers played in the European basketball league. As a condition of his bond, Sellers surrendered his passport.