Augusta man, 78, charged with rape, molestation


A 78-year-old Augusta man has been charged with rape and several counts of child molestation that police said occurred over several years.


According to a Richmond County Sheriff’s Office incident report, a 13-year-old girl’s father contacted police Aug. 10 after she told him that Harold “Dusty” Rhodes had molested her.

In 2003, Rhodes ran for city commissioner in District 8. He finished with 9 percent of the vote. According to the Richmond County Tax Assessor’s office, he also owned the South Augusta Flea Market on Doug Barnard Parkway from 1992 to 2008.

The girl told authorities the man began making sexual comments about oral sex when she was about 6 years old and began physically abusing her about two years later.

In a five-page statement, she told police that Rhodes had sex with her when she was about 8 or 9 and has pointed a loaded pistol at her.

Police interviewed the suspect and said there was enough information to make an arrest.

Rhodes was booked Thursday into the Richmond County jail on charges of rape, nonaggravated child molestation and three counts of aggravated child molestation.



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