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Former Harnett County deputy charged with child sex crimes, released on $500,000 bond

A former sheriff’s deputy was arrested and charged Tuesday with sexually exploiting several children during his time as a law enforcement officer in Harnett County.

Johnathan Andrew Edwards, 35, was fired from the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office in November after an internal investigation, reported ABC11, The News & Observer’s news-gathering partner.

Edwards was charged with 10 counts of felony first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and a count of felony obstruction of justice, according to Harnett County court records.

Arrest warrants accuse Edwards of exploiting several underage female victims.

He is also accused of destroying evidence of the alleged crimes.

The State Bureau of Investigation will be part of the Sheriff’s Office investigation.

Edwards was placed on administrative leave on Oct. 16 and terminated on Nov. 30 for violating policy, reported ABC11.

The N&O has contacted the Sheriff’s Office for more information.

Edwards was ordered held on $1 million bail that was reduced to $500,000 by a judge, which he posted on Tuesday afternoon.

He was released under conditions that he not have any contact with minors unless parents or guardians are present and not have any contact with any of the alleged victims. He is also prohibited from any contact with minors online, according to court documents.