- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 11, 2019

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - A Tennessee sheriff’s deputy at the center of multiple lawsuits has been indicted on 44 counts including rape, sexual battery, oppression and extortion.

Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond told news outlets he was notified on Tuesday that a grand jury had indicted Deputy Daniel Wilkey, 26, on charges related to incidents that happened while he was working. Four separate lawsuits accuse Wilkey of misconduct during traffic stops, including an illegal drug search, a forced baptism and groping girls. He’s been on paid administrative leave since July.

Wilkey was arrested and taken to the Hamilton County jail. His attorney did not respond to a request for comment, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.

Hamilton County District Attorney General Neal Pinkston’s office declined to comment. The sheriff said in a statement that he will cooperate with Pinkston’s office and would schedule a hearing to address Wilkey’s employment status.

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