Georgia County Commissioner Charged With Child Molestation, Sexual Battery

An 84-year-old Georgia county commissioner has been arrested on child molestation and sexual battery charges.

Effingham County Commissioner Reginald “Reggie” Loper was arrested and released on bail on Wednesday

Documents obtained by WTOC revealed that a teenage victim and her mother reported multiple sexual assaults to the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office on January 5, the same day they filed for a temporary protective order against Loper.

According to the documents, Loper began abusing the victim when she was 12 and continued until August 2022.

Effingham County Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie recused himself from the investigation, the station reported, and asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to step in. The GBI confirmed that it picked up the case on January 9.

Judge F. Gates Peed signed off on an order requiring Loper to stay away from the victim and the victim’s residence, workplace, and school, barring him from coming within 500 yards of the victim, and barring him from any direct or indirect contact with the victim. It also ordered that all firearms in Loper’s possession or that he had access to were to be held by the sheriff’s office.

According to the petition for the order, the victim feared for her safety.

That order was dismissed on February 23 as part of the civil case, an attorney for the victim and her mother told WTOC. The attorney said new orders may be filed with the criminal charges.

Loper has served on the Effingham County Board of Commissioners for nearly 20 years. He has no prior criminal record in the county.

GBI said the investigation is ongoing and that its findings would be handed over to the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office for prosecution when it is completed.

Effingham County is one of the original colonial counties of Georgia, located on the Savannah River just north of Savannah and Chatham County. It is included as part of the Savannah metropolitan area.

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[Featured image: Reggie Loper/Effingham County Sheriff’s Office]