Dawson Mayor says he turned down plea deal

Dawson Mayor says he turned down plea deal
(Terrell Co. Sheriff)

DAWSON, GA (WALB) - Dawson Mayor Christopher Wright held a press conference outside of city hall in Dawson Thursday at 5:30 p.m, an hour before the City Council's scheduled monthly meeting.

He said that he would not step down from the Office of Mayor, despite several sex charges levied against him. He said other people involved in the situation have not been charged, and that he was offered a plea deal, which he refused.

He surrendered to authorities yesterday, and just moments ago in a press conference, he says he will not leave the office he was elected into.

He says he is amazed that he has gone from Chris Wright the Mayor to Chris Wright the small-town rapist. Although Mayor Wright says he will not leave office, he could be forced out.

Calls for his removal, according to Dawson City Attorney Tommy Coleman, begin with the District Attorney, "All of this isn't up to the city council and I will explain that to them when they ask. I've already had a call or two as you might expect. It's really up to the D.A. to make that initial determination."

District Attorney Craig Earnest must decide if these criminal charges are related to Wright's conduct in office.  If so, he can send the issue to Atlanta.

Coleman says, "The governor can impanel a three member panel that includes the AG, and two elected officials."

And a recommendation from that panel could result in Wright being temporarily removed from office, with pay, until his trial is over or the case resolved.

But, the city council does have options to remove Wright if they so choose.

They can vote to ask Wright to resign.  Coleman says, "The Council could take that action or do nothing."

Wright doesn't have to step down.

Although Coleman, a former Mayor himself who has been appointed to serve on similar panels before, says many times the elected official under fire chooses to leave.

"More often than that, an indicted elected official just doesn't want that spotlight any more, they've got too much to worry about."

At Thursday's press conference, Wright thanked the citizens of Dawson who have stood by him, as he compared himself to the Captain of the Titanic.

He's out on bond after being indicted on five charges including, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, child molestation, rape, and aggravated rape.

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