JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A former Johnson City investigator has been charged with sexual battery by an authority figure, according to the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office.
A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office told News Channel 11 that Thomas Lee Dillard was facing the charge after an investigation by Bristol police.
Court documents state that a Sullivan County Grand Jury passed down an indictment charging Dillard after finding that he reportedly had sexual contact with a minor in February 2021 in Sullivan County.
According to other documents filed in court, Dillard posted a $15,000 bond and was given a court date of July 15, 2022 in Sullivan County Criminal Court.
The City of Johnson City confirmed Dillard had been an investigator with the Johnson City Police Department (JCPD) from Jan 15, 2001 until that same date in 2019 when he resigned. A spokesperson for the city said records indicated he left the JCPD after accepting employment elsewhere.
In December 2021, Dillard was appointed as a captain over the Washington County Tennessee Sheriff’s Office’s Criminal Investigations Department. However, Washington County Sheriff Keith Sexton informed News Channel 11 Thursday that Dillard worked for the department for less than a week before resigning abruptly and without a provided reason.
In addition to the victim, other witnesses listed in the presentment include a Tennessee Department of Children’s Services employee and an employee of the Child Advocacy Center. Chris Odle of the Bristol Tennessee Police Department is listed as a witness and is the only witness listed as being examined by the grand jury itself.
A Bristol city news release from October 2020, when Odle was honored with the Mark Vance Award for exceptional service in prosecuting domestic violence cases, notes that Odle was assigned in 2019 to cover child and elder abuse.