Former Forsyth Co. deputy sentenced to 17 years, most of that probation, for child sex charges

A former Forsyth County sheriff’s deputy has been sentenced after his conviction on child exploitation charges.

On Nov. 10, 2020, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested Grady Sanford after it received a tip that photos of child sexual abuse had been uploaded to the internet via email.

After opening the investigation, the GBI traced the computer IP address to Sanford’s physical address.

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Agents then obtained a warrant to search his home, which resulted in his arrest.

On Wednesday Sanford was sentenced to 17 years, with the first two years suspended after six months are served in Probation Detention Center, and one year served in the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center.

The remainder of the sentence (15 years) will be served on probation.

Sanford was convicted of 16 counts of sexual exploitation of children, according to court documents.


“To say this is a shock is a gross understatement. We intentionally set our standards high at Forsyth County. Regardless of rank, every employee must meet those moral and legal standards,” Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman said at the time of Sanford’s arrest. “There is no room for this type of crime in our State, and certainly not in the law enforcement profession. Our trust and that of our community has been betrayed. I’ve made a commitment to be transparent, even when one of our own employees does wrong. No one is exempt, and no one is above the law.”

The ICAC and GBI urge anyone with information about child exploitation cases to contact the GBI’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes unit at 404-270-8870.

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