A youth group leader who slapped a Georgia television reporter’s backside while she was live on the air has been arrested and charged with sexual battery, WSAV reported on Friday.
Tommy Callaway, 43, was filmed assaulting WSAV-TV’s Alex Bozarjian as she covered the Enmarket Savannah Bridge Run on December 7. As the video clip gained national attention, Savannah Sports Council, which organized the run, announced that Callaway is banned from all their future events.
Callaway turned himself in on Friday and was released on a $1,300 bond. If convicted, he faces up to a year in jail.
WSAV released a statement in support of Bozarjian after Callaway’s arrest:
“The conduct displayed by one man toward Alex Bozarjian during her live coverage of Saturday’s Savannah Bridge Run was reprehensible and completely unacceptable.
“No one should ever be disrespected in this manner. The safety and protection of our employees is WSAV-TV’s highest priority.”
Bozarjian’s attorney, Gloria Allred, said in a statement that her client “is glad that law enforcement is taking this matter seriously.”
“She feels that a reporter should be able to do her job without being assaulted. Alex wants to thank the members of the public who have reached out to her to offer support. 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.”
Callaway, speaking to Inside Edition earlier this week, said he was “caught up in the moment” when he slapped Bozarjian’s backside.
“I was getting ready to bring my hands up and wave to the camera to the audience, there was a misjudge in character and decision-making. I touched her back; I did not know exactly where I touched her,” the married father-of-two and Boy Scout leader explained.
Bozarjian told “CBS This Morning” that she is not sure she accepts his apology.
“He took my power, and I’m trying to take that back. I think what it really comes down to is that he helped himself to a part of my body,” she said on Tuesday.
CBS reported that Bozarjian filed a police report on Monday. In a statement issued to the news station, Callaway’s lawyer said his client did not act with any “criminal intentions.”
Referring to Callaway’s intent, Bozarijan said, “I’m not going to really debate that because he hurt me.”
To the man who smacked my butt on live TV this morning: You violated, objectified, and embarrassed me. No woman should EVER have to put up with this at work or anywhere!! Do better. https://t.co/PRLXkBY5hn
— Alex Bozarjian (@wsavalexb) December 7, 2019
Buzzfeed reported that Callaway works for a tobacco products company, according to his LinkedIn bio, along with his work with the Boy Scouts. The Washington Examiner reported that the Scoutsissued a statement cutting ties with Callaway:
“Upon learning of this incident, we immediately removed this individual and prohibited him from any future participation in our programs. This behavior runs counter to Scouting’s values and everything we teach our members about treating others with dignity and respect. The [Boy Scouts of America] takes this type of conduct very seriously, and we always consider what is best for our youth members, staff, and volunteers when making these decisions.”
For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast. Listen to the latest episode:
[Featured image: WSAV-TV video screengrab]