A Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office corporal resigned his position in October amid an internal investigation that found he had shared sensitive information with a woman he was in contact with.
According to a statement from the sheriff’s office, Cpl. Michael Christian resigned from his position in October before the investigation could be finished.
“Mr. Christian made the decision to resign prior to the completion [of the] investigation,” the sheriff’s office said in the statement. “However, when someone acts as this former employee did, they lose their right to work alongside those Deputies and employees who serve with such distinction and heroism daily. The Sheriff has made it expressly clear that unethical, illegal or immoral acts will lead to termination from this agency, every employee has heard this directly from the Sheriff.”
In the statement, Sheriff Ron Freeman said, “There is no room for this type of conduct here, and the men and women of FCSO, as well as our citizens of Forsyth County, deserve better.”
The internal investigation has been turned over to the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (POST) for review and to determine the status of Christian’s certification.
Per the report, around Oct. 16, Allison Densmore, director of the office of professional standards, requested Inv. Martin Kautz open an investigation “concerning an alleged relationship” that Cpl. Michael E. Christian and a female victim of a previous investigation Christian conducted.
Since he had resigned before the investigation was concluded, Christian was not interviewed during the internal affairs investigation.
The investigation found that violations of oath of office, divulging confidential information, agency correspondence, unauthorized persons in vehicles, neglect of duty and conduct unbecoming of an officer on or off duty were sustained.
After searching Christian’s county email, investigators found he had an email for the victim and had “sent numerous items that contained sensitive information” to the victim.
The investigation found 26 emails containing sensitive information sent by Christian between May 2019 and September 2020, including several where Christian noted he was not supposed to share the information.
“A review of all the emails showed that Cpl. Christian forwarded many of the emails to [the woman] within minutes of receipt,” the report said. “[She] did not reply to most messages and never requested the email from Cpl. Christian.”
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The woman was interviewed in late October and said she met Christian about three years before when she had filed a complaint about an individual stalking her and he was involved in the investigation
She told investigators that in February 2018, she and Christian met at the Sheriff’s Office headquarters, left in his county-owned vehicle and “Christian explained that he had feelings for her and expressed concerns about her safety.”
The relationship reportedly lasted until October 2020.
She said she met Christian regularly and spoke for hours while he was working and would meet at various locations around the county.
“[The woman] knew that Cpl. Christian was married, but Cpl. Christian always stated he was getting divorced,” the report said. “[She] introduced ger mother and her child to Cpl. Christian. [She] recalled discussing the future with Cpl. Christian and looking for homes together.”
The woman said she never asked for emails nor forwarded any emails or attachments and deleted sensitive information from her phone when asked by investigators.
When asked why she did not typically reply to the emails, she said she and Christian would usually communicate in other ways.
The investigation found phone conversations from Aug. 18, 2020 to Sept. 23, 2020 between the two, including conversations during some of Christian’s shifts, which the investigation said was evidence “he was at a minimum distracted with lengthy conversation” with the woman.
On Nov. 5, the investigators met with another woman who also claimed she was having an affair with Christian after the two met in a professional capacity in 2015 and later began to exchange personal messages and meeting with Christin while he was on duty.
She told investigators that during one of his shifts on Oct. 18, 2018, “the two had inappropriate contact” in an SUV assigned to Christian.
The report stated that both women “appear credible and have enough information to corroborate the relationship that had with Cpl. Christian.”