Two RCSO deputies resign after internal investigations into family violence, improper sexual activity

CONYERS — Two Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office deputies have resigned this week as a result of separate internal affairs investigations into allegations of family violence and improper sexual activity while on duty.

Deputy Chad Stuarte resigned Thursday after an internal investigation was opened following his arrest on Saturday by the Newton County Sheriff’s Office on family violence charges.

Newton County Sheriff’s Office deputies were called to the Stuartes’ home on Ivy Ridge Court about 1 a.m. Saturday, May 3, where Chad Stuarte, 26, and his wife, Amanda Stuarte, 24, had been involved in a physical altercation. The two were arrested and charged with family violence battery.

As a result, Stuarte was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation, the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office stated.

Through the course of the internal investigation, the RCSO learned that Stuarte had been involved in an incident in December that had gone unreported, according to a press release from the Sheriff’s Office on Friday.

“Deputy Stuarte admitted to intentionally discharging his department-issued service weapon into the floor of his home during an argument with his wife,” the release states. “Deputy Stuarte failed to report this incident, as required by RCSO policy, and took additional steps to conceal the discharge.”

During the disciplinary hearing to address the allegations of policy violations, Stuarte resigned in lieu of termination.

Stuarte began his career with the RCSO in 2008 as a deputy sheriff assigned to the jail and became a certified deputy sheriff assigned to Uniform Patrol in 2010, where he had been serving until his arrest.

As a result of another unrelated internal affairs investigation, Deputy Loretta Hernandez, 39, also resigned in lieu of termination during a disciplinary hearing, the Sheriff’s Office reported Friday.

This internal affairs investigation was opened as a result of allegations that Hernandez was derelict in her duties and, in another incident, failed to respond to the help request of another deputy who was on a fight call, the RCSO stated.

“The internal affairs investigation took an unexpected turn when it was discovered that Deputy Hernandez had engaged in several incidents of sexual activity while on duty,” the press release states.

During the course of the investigation, Hernandez allegedly withheld information and facts from the internal affairs investigator.

“Later, Deputy Hernandez admitted to having sexual intercourse on at least three separate occasions with an acquaintance that she had known for less than one year,” the RCSO stated.

In all three instances, Hernandez was reportedly on duty and in uniform. In at least two of the incidents, she was in her full uniform and in her marked RCSO patrol unit in public. In the third incident, Hernandez, while on duty, was outside of her patrol car inside a local business that was closed.

“In at least one of incidents in which she admittedly was having sex on duty, Deputy Hernandez admitted to being dispatched to a call for service and delaying her response until to the sexual act was completed,” the release states.

Hernandez was placed on paid administrative leave on April 25 when the allegations first came to light. The RCSO’s Office of Professional Standards conducted the internal affairs investigation with the assistance of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Polygraph Unit. The investigation was concluded on Thursday with Hernandez resigning in lieu of termination.

Hernandez began her career with the RCSO in 2008 as a deputy sheriff assigned to the jail and became a certified deputy sheriff assigned to Uniform Patrol in 2010, where she had been serving until being placed on administrative leave.

“The circumstances that led to these resignations are truly embarrassing to each of the hardworking men and women of the RCSO who are out here making our county safe and keeping our jail secure,” said Chief Deputy Scott Freeman. “Every employee at the RCSO is held to a higher standard of conduct and professionalism, which is something that the citizens of this county deserve and will receive from the employees of the RCSO. Misconduct or criminal acts have no place in the law enforcement profession and are not going to be tolerated at the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office. The actions of both deputies are both disappointing and heartbreaking for them, their families and for all of the members of RCSO.”