Georgia sheriff charged with elder abuse over assault of 75-year-old man

Bacon County Sheriff Mark Cothren, 50, allegedly attacked John Daniel Melton in front of the sheriff's office.

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By Minyvonne Burke

A Georgia sheriff was arrested on multiple charges including elder abuse for assaulting a 75-year-old man, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said.

The agency said in a press release that it was contacted by the Waycross Judicial Circuit district attorney last week requesting the GBI investigate claims that Bacon County Sheriff Mark Cothren attacked John Daniel Melton in front of the sheriff's office.

Mark CothrenBacon County Sheriff's Office

It's not clear when the incident happened, what lead up to it or what connection the two might have. Mark Pro, special agent in charge with the GBI, told NBC News he could not comment on the case but said Melton was not an inmate or being arrested at the time of the assault.

Cothren, 50, turned himself into the Bacon County jail on Wednesday. He's facing one count of elder abuse, one count of violation of oath of office and one count of battery.

The Bacon County Sheriff's Office and the jail declined to comment when contacted Thursday by NBC.

According to the sheriff's office website, Cothren has been with the department since 1990 and previously worked as a jail officer, patrolman, chief deputy and investigator.

The GBI said once the investigation is complete, it will be turned over to the Attorney General's Office for prosecution.