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February 22--  A Vidalia businessman accused of child molestation has been released on bond.

Middle Judicial Circuit District Attorney Hayward Altman says 49-year-old John Welch was released from the Emanuel County jail Thursday after Judge Robert Reeves approved a $50,000 bond in a hearing Wednesday.  He had been denied bond is his first bond hearing.

Welch has been in jail since early January when he was arrested by the GBI and charged with six counts of child molestation and two counts of aggravated child molestation.

GBI Special Agent Lindsey Wilkes says Welch engaged in sexual acts with multiple underage females on various occasions over a period of years dating back to 2013.  One of his victims still lives in Vidalia and two others were Vidalia residents at the time of the crimes, according to the GBI.

Welch lives just north of the Toombs County line in Emanuel County and Wilkes says all of the warrants taken against him thus far are for molestations which occurred in Emanuel County.  She says the investigation is continuing and there could be further charges.

The District Attorney says he expects to seek indictments against Welch as soon as next week before an Emanuel County grand jury.

Welch is listed as the Chief Executive Officer of Accordia Urgent Care in Vidalia, Dublin and Warner Robins.

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