Relative speaks out in defense of former Bibb County deputy indicted in sex assault probe

Bruce Rutledge, he uncle of former Bibb County sheriff's deputy Ervin Heard, came to the defense of his nephew following his indictment in a sexual assault investigation. (

The family of a{}former Bibb County deputy are speaking out on his behalf.{} Ervin Heard was indicted on 20 counts Thursday{}related to him allegedly threatening women for sex.{} Assistant District Attorney, James Ransom says, "They were people he arrested or threatened to arrest."

But Heard's uncle, Bruce Rutledge, believes{}it's a political conspiracy.{}{} He told ABC 33/40 reporter Isaiah Harper{}"I wouldn't have thought they would take it this far to try and corrupt his life.

The family points to an October 9th article in the Centreville Press.{} In it, investigators released{} Heard's name, asking the public to respond to what were only complaints against him at the time. He had not been charged with a crime.

Bibb County Sheriff Keith Hannah told ABC 33/40 he was not the one who put Heard's name out there.

Heard's uncle says before the investigation someone spread rumors that Heard planned to run for sheriff. He's also pastor of the{}'Rising Star Baptist Church' in Centreville.{} "He had no intentions of running for Sheriff here...He's a good preacher.{} I'm serving under him.{} I go to his church every Sunday...the guy didn't do this. This is a frame up," Rutledge insisted.

But Ransom says several alleged victims have come forward.{} Also, a female inmate wrote a letter about sexual advances from Heard.{} Former jail warden, Ralph Burnell Junior has been charged with trying to hide that letter.{} "He allegedly intercepted this letter and didn't forward it where it needed to be forwarded.{} It ended up in the hands of Ervin Heard."

Meanwhile, Heard was fired in September.{} He's filed a lawsuit against the county.

Regarding the family's allegations Heard was framed, D.A. Ransom says "There are a lot of people out there that make decisions based on knowing next to nothing.{} I can't do anything about what they think."