Man who slapped reporter’s behind on air arrested on sexual battery charge

Thomas Callaway, the Georgia runner seen slapping a reporter on camera from behind in a Dec. 7 video, was arrested Friday on a charge of sexual battery. Image courtesy of WSAV3/YouTube

Dec. 15 (UPI) — The man caught on video slapping a reporter on the backside as she reported on camera last week has been arrested and charged with sexual battery, officials say.

Savannah, Ga., reporter Alex Bozarjian was reporting on the Enmarket Savannah Bridge Run Dec. 7 when a participating runner slapped her from behind as he ran by, interrupting her reporting.

The man in the video, Thomas Callaway, turned himself in on Friday and was released on a $1,300 bond, according to Bozarjian’s employer, WSAV.

The station’s story includes a statement from high-profile women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred, identified in the story as Bozarjian’s counsel.

“Alex wants to thank the members of the public who have reached out to her to offer support,” said Allred’s statement. “If this case goes to trial, she will be a witness. For that reason, she will have no further comment until the case concludes, but she does hope that there will be a just result.”

WSAV’s story also includes a statement from the station saying Callaway’s conduct was “reprehensible and completely unaccaptable” and that the company stands by its employee. A WSAV reporter reporting on Callaway’s arrest read the statement on the air.

“No one should ever be disrespected in this manner. The safety and protection of our employees is WSAV-TV’s highest priority,” the statement said.

On Wednesday, Callaway told the Statesboro Herald he regrets his actions.

“I made a wrong decision, a horrible mistake that can’t be taken back,” he said. “I am embarrassed and ashamed and offer my sincerest apologies to Ms. Alex.”

Callaway was misidentified as a youth pastor in some media reports since the incident, but both he and an official at his church told the Statesboro Herald that Callaway has never held that position.


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