Child advocate ordered in case

A Superior Court judge ordered Thursday that the alleged victim in a molestation case against former Columbia County Commissioner Scott Dean receive a child advocate.

Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. ordered a Court Appointed Special Advocate attend to the adopted daughter of Dean.

Blanchard said the appointment is a precaution, not meant to insinuate that anything inappropriate has occurred. The advocate will ensure there is no impropriety, including parents or others coaching the girl in the case or otherwise influencing her testimony.

"She is going to be my eyes and ears," Blanchard said of the advocate. "The case should not be discussed with these children."

Dean was indicted on two counts of child molestation Feb. 2. He is accused of having inappropriate contact with one of the five children he and his wife adopted from Guatemala in 2008.

Blanchard denied a request to arraign Dean at the hearing instead of at his scheduled arraignment this afternoon.

Though a term of Dean's bond was that he stay within the Augusta Judicial Circuit, Blanchard gave permission at Thursday's hearing for Dean to move to Athens-Clarke County to take a job as a property manager for a company owned by G.B. Sharma.

A March 15 election, for which five candidates have qualified, will determine Dean's replacement as a county commissioner.

Contact Valerie Rowell at (706) 863-6165 or valerie.rowell@augustachronicle.com.

Editor's note: The reference to developer G.B. Sharma was temporarily removed from a version of this story when it was called into question. It was restored when the reporter reviewed notes from the hearing in open court.