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The former police chief of Luthersville pleaded guilty Tuesday and was sentenced to five years in prison for charges stemming from sexual encounters with two women last year, prosecutors said.

The case against police Chief David Yates began with a rape accusation from a 21-year-old woman in August.

Then it grew when another Luthersville woman came forward, saying she twice had been coerced into sex with Yates in 2007 because the chief promised leniency against her husband in a drunken-driving case.

Yates pleaded guilty to one count of false imprisonment and two counts of violation of oath of office, said Pete Skandalakis, the district attorney for the judicial circuit that includes Meriwether County, 45 miles southwest of Atlanta.

After his prison term, Yates will be on probation for five years and has to register as a sex offender.

Another ex-Luthersville officer arrested in the case, Jason Hardegree, avoided prison but got five years probation after pleading guilty to giving false statements and violation of oath of office. He had agreed to testify against the chief if the case went to trial.

Skandalakis said both pleas were negotiated as the case was set to go before a grand jury next week.

In the rape case, on Aug. 24, Yates went to the 21-year-old woman's home in uniform and with his patrol car and threatened to have her young daughter taken from the home by child-welfare authorities if she didn't have sex with him, Skandalakis said. The chief admitted the sex took place, but said it was consensual, the prosecutor said.

A week or so earlier, he unsuccessfully tried to get her committed to a mental hospital after she made repeated unwanted calls to a friend of Yates' who she had just stopped dating.

After Yates was arrested, the other woman, 26, reported her story to authorities, Skandalakis said. She said that she had sex with Yates twice —- including once in a vacant home —- between March and July 2007 in exchange for leniency in her husband's DUI case.

Hardegree had a much lesser role in the incident involving the 21-year-old; he tried to prevent the woman from pursuing criminal charges against Yates and made a false statement to investigators, Skandalakis said.


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