A former Dawson County jailer will spend the next 15 years in prison after he admitted to molesting a teenage family member.
Justin Tim Rider, 23, also pled guilty on Nov. 19 to violating his oath of office by having inappropriate sexual contact with a female inmate while employed at the detention center.
Superior Court Judge Bonnie Oliver sentenced the Dawsonville man to 30 years, with 15 to be served in custody and the remainder on probation.
Once released, he will be subject to sex offender provisions. He is also responsible for any medically necessary mental health and counseling for the victim.
Rider did not address the court other than to say he was guilty and to tell his wife he would always love her.
The 14-year-old victim and her mother were in the courtroom as Oliver read the sentence.
The teen wiped tears from her face as a representative of the Dawson County District Attorney’s Office read a statement the victim had prepared.
“You are not only guilty of raping me, you are guilty of killing my family’s happiness,” she wrote.
Rider worked for the sheriff’s office from January 2006 until November 2007. He resigned after being questioned about allegations of inappropriate sexual contact with female inmates and violations of established department rules.
He was not initially charged for having sexual contact with an inmate.
Those charges came in June after a grand jury determined there was sufficient evidence to move forward against Rider with the child molestation and statutory rape case, as well as the alleged jail assault.
Oliver accepted Rider’s plea and the negotiated sentence “to avoid the victim having to be re-victimized” by testifying in court, she said.
Rider began working at the detention center not long after graduating from Dawson County High School, where he was a member of the sheriff’s Explorer program for youth interested in law enforcement.
Rider received primarily positive performance recommendations from his superiors at the detention center, although an evaluation in September 2006 warned the “officer needs to be able to distinguish what is acceptable when dealing with inmates. Officer needs not to be as personable with inmates.”
Rider will remain in the local jail until he is transferred to a state correctional facility.