NWGA Scanner | August 12th, 2022

Chatsworth man convicted of molesting child in Whitfield County

Charles Baretta Hawk, 43, of 45 Johnson Road, Chatsworth, was convicted on Friday by a Whitfield County jury on one count of child molestation.  

Superior Court Judge Jim Wilbanks presided over the trial.  The state’s case was presented by Assistant District Attorney Ben Kenemer with assistance from Eric White, formerly of the Georgia Bureau of Investigations.  Hawk was represented by Jack Donlon of the Public Defender’s Office.

Kenemer called four witnesses to testify including the victim and a member of her family.  A prior victim, molested by Hawk in 2006, also testified about her own experience which was very similar to the allegations of the current victim.  

Eric White, who was previously a special agent with the GBI and lead the investigation testified about the work he did, beginning in Murray County where the abuse was disclosed but ultimately leading to charges in Whitfield County where the abuse had actually occurred.  Hawk did not testify but attorney Donlon called three witnesses on his behalf in an attempt to establish an alibi defense.  Hawk was incarcerated during part of the time the offense was alleged to have occurred in the indictment.  However the exact date was not alleged as material to the case and it is not unusual that child victims are unable to establish an exact date on which the abuse occurred, prosecutors said.

Judge Wilbanks set sentencing for next Friday at 1 p.m.

Hawk has a total of three prior felony convictions including the prior from 2006 and two prior convictions for failure to register as a sex offender.  If Judge Wilbanks determines that Hawk is subject to recidivist sentencing under Georgia law, he could be sentenced to 19 years in prison without parole followed by one year of probation supervision, which is mandatory for certain sex offenses to facilitate transition services and sex offender registration upon release from prison.