Former Austell officer charged with child molestation in Carroll County
A former Douglasville policeman has been charged with child molestation again, this time in Carroll County, after a local victim saw news accounts of his arrest on similar charges in Cobb County.
Matthew Darren Atkins, 55, of Dallas, Georgia, spent two weeks in jail before he was granted a $75,000 bond. His freedom would be short lived as he was arrested again for the same offenses by Carroll County police. Atkins is currently in the Carroll County Jail on one charge of child molestation. Jail records showed that bond was denied in the case.
On March 10, then Austell police officer Atkins was arrested and accused of molesting a 7-year-old girl. A Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certified police officer, Atkins worked for the city of Austell since 2017. He was charged with three counts of child molestation and one count of violation of oath by a public officer and was held without bail and had just been released before being arrested on this second case.
The Cobb arrest warrant alleges that in February and earlier March, Atkins touched the girl inappropriately on several occasions and forced her to touch him. He also allegedly masturbated in front of the child. The warrant states that at least three acts of child molestation were committed by Atkins on the child.“ During the course of the investigation of that case a victim came forward after seeing Atkins’ arrest in Cobb County and disclosed that she had also been molested by Atkins several years ago, per a statement from the Sheriff.
Prior to Austell, Atkins worked for the police departments in both Powder Springs and Douglasville according to POST records. He has been employed with the Austell department since February 2017 and was promoted to the position of sergeant in December 2018.
This is not Atkins’ first run in with the law. In 2014, he was allowed to resign from his Douglasville police sergeant position “in lieu of termination” after being accused of using his work computer to purchase illegal steroids. POST placed him on probation and ordered him to undergo random drug screening tests.
Atkins is a former police officer with the Austell Police Department, but had resigned his position before his arrest, according to the Carroll County information officer. P.O.S.T. records show that his peace officers license has been suspended.
A common concern in our communities is the ability of law enforcement officers to obtain new positions in different communities after being accused of wrongdoing in another. In this case, was Atkins allowed to resign again before being arrested?