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On June 14, 2023, a Carroll County jury found Michael Jacob Brantley, 19, of Carrollton, guilty of Aggravated Sexual Battery, four counts of Child Molestation, and Sexual Battery Against a Child Under 16. Superior Court Judge Dustin Hightower presided over the trial and set the sentencing hearing for July 24, 2023.
Assistant District Attorney Caley McDonald prosecuted the case with the assistance of Carrol County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Kim Hope who was the lead investigator.
The evidence presented at trial showed that Brantley repeatedly molested his biological nephew and niece, 11 and 12 years old at the time, over a period of several months beginning in August 2021. The abuse typically occurred in the early morning as the children were waiting for their school bus at Brantley’s house while their father was at work.
The investigation began on October 26, 2021 when the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office received a referral from the Department of Children and Family Services (DFACS). One of the victims disclosed the abuse to their Mount Zion Elementary school counselor and the school contacted DFACS, consistent with normal protocol.
As part of Sgt. Hope’s investigation, the Carroll County Child Advocacy Center (CAC) forensically interviewed both children and both disclosed sexual abuse by Brantley. The Sheriff’s Office arrested Brantley on December 17, 2021 and he remained in custody at the Carroll County Jail until the trial.
At trial, the victims bravely testified at trial about the abuse they endured any time Brantley had a chance to catch them alone. While the extensive investigation yielded evidence corroborating that testimony, the victims, 13 and 14 at the time of trial, were the only people able to testify about what they experienced. In most sex-crime cases, the victim is the only witness.
There are many organizations responsible for protecting children in our community and holding accountable those who abuse children. This case serves as a good example of these organizations working together to remove children from harm, investigate the cause of that harm, and ultimately achieve justice for the victims of that harm. The DA’s Office sincerely appreciates the cooperation and work of the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, the Carroll County CAC, Mount Zion Elementary School, DFACS, and everyone at the Carroll County courthouse who ensures trials are conducted fairly and efficiently.
JOHN HERBERT CRANFORD, JR.
COWETA JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
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