Richmond County deputy accused of sexual battery

Matthew Sides: The deputy who was charged with forcing a woman to disrobe, and then touching her, submitted his resignation.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly spelled the name of former Richmond County sheriff’s Deputy Mathew Sides.

A Richmond County sheriff's deputy was arrested Tuesday on a charge that he coerced a woman to take her clothes off so he wouldn't take her to jail.

Deputy Mathew Sides is accused of sexual battery against a person in custody in connection with the Oct. 9 incident.

An arrest report states that Sides stopped the car around 3 a.m. in the parking lot of a business in the 2800 block of Thomas Lane. Sides, who was in uniform, made the 22-year-old woman and her boyfriend get out of the car, looked at her ID and told her the only way to avoid going to jail is "to get naked," a report states.

The woman took her clothes off, and Sides touched her inner thigh, according to a report. Sides then allowed the couple to leave. The incident was reported, and the investigation was turned over to the criminal investigation division.

Sides, who has been a deputy in Richmond County for a little more than two years, surrendered to the sheriff's office Tuesday morning on the warrant. Col. Gary Powell said Sheriff Ronnie Strength would make a statement after Sides goes before the review board this morning.