A charter school administrator in Atlanta is on leave after he was arrested last month on charges of having sex with a minor, authorities said Wednesday.
The man, Ereco Lee Maddox, 46, is charged with child molestation, two counts of sodomy and interference of child custody, officials said. He was arrested June 26 by the Colquitt County Sheriff's Office, investigator Blake Livings said.
Maddox is alleged to have met the minor through the dating app Grindr, Livings said.
Maddox is the associate head of school at the Centennial Academy in Atlanta, about 200 miles north of where he was arrested last month. The school serves students in kindergarten through eighth grade, according to its website.
"Centennial Academy is aware of allegations against Associate Head of School Ereco Maddox related to actions taken toward a minor in South Georgia," Head of School Tequila Lamar said in a statement. "The school is not aware of any misconduct occurring on campus or involving Centennial Academy Scholars.
"Although Mr. Maddox has not been formally convicted of any crimes, the school's human resources and legal teams are presently conducting a full investigation," the statement said. "As such, Mr. Maddox has been placed on administrative leave."
Maddox could not be reached for comment. Court officials did not respond to multiple requests Wednesday seeking information about Maddox's arraignment, how he pleaded or whether he was represented by an attorney.
In a statement Thursday, a Grindr spokesperson pointed to the company's terms of service, which prohibits minors from using the platform.
The statement also highlighted other steps to keep the app safe, including moderation of uploaded profile images, a ban on minors who are discovered to have used the service and cooperation with police to find "illicit activities."
"Grindr stands ready to support law enforcement's investigation of the disturbing report from Colquitt County," the statement said.
At about midnight on June 26, Maddox took the minor to a hotel, where he sexually assaulted the child, Livings alleged.
Investigators launched the investigation after the minor's sister woke up and noticed that her sibling was not in the home. The victim's sister then told their mother, Livings said. The minor made it home at about 2:15 a.m., Livings said, and told the mother about what had occurred in a hotel room.
Livings declined to specify the age and gender of the minor, who he said was younger than 16.
The minor's mother called police at about 3 a.m. on June 26, Livings said. She told investigators that she had seen a dark SUV near her home, which was also spotted by a deputy on patrol during the early morning hours of June 26.
"The deputy asked the mother if it was a Cadillac Escalade, and the mom confirmed the vehicle she saw, dropping off her child, slowly riding past her house, was also a Cadillac Escalade. They were able to locate that vehicle at the hotel," Livings said.
Deputies arrested Maddox at the hotel, Livings said.
Deputies had no information that would cause them to believe Maddox made the trip to South Georgia to have sex with the minor, Livings said. Maddox has family in the area, Livings said.
The Moultrie Observer newspaper reported that Maddox paid a bond of $16,000 on June 28 and was released from the Colquitt County Jail.