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Man seen slapping reporter's rear on TV charged with misdemeanor battery
The runner seen on live TV appearing to slap a reporter's rear was arrested Friday on a misdemeanor charge of sexual battery.
The Associated Press reported that Thomas Callaway was arrested Friday after turning himself in and later released after posting the $1,300 bail.
The incident in question went viral after video on social media appeared to capture Callaway slapping the rear of WSAV reporter Alex Bozarjian while she was covering a run in Savannah, Ga., last week.
"The conduct displayed toward Alex Bozarjian during her live coverage of Saturday's Savannah Bridge Run was reprehensible and completely unacceptable," the television station said in a statement Friday evening. "No one should ever be disrespected in this manner. The safety and protection of our employees is WSAV-TV's highest priority."
An attorney for Callaway declined to comment to the AP.
Attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing Bozarjian, said that "Alex is looking forward to justice in this case," WSAV reported.
Callaway defended his actions while appearing on "Inside Edition" on Tuesday.
"I was caught up in the moment," he said. "I was getting ready to bring my hands up and wave to the camera to the audience. There was a misjudge in character and decisionmaking. I touched her back. I did not know exactly where I touched her."
Callaway is a 43-year-old father of two who also serves as a church youth minister and Boy Scout leader, according to "Inside Edition." He said that he "did not see" Bozarjian's facial reaction after he slapped her rear and that he "would have felt embarrassed and ashamed and stopped and turned around to apologize to her" if he had.
Bozarjian was at first undecided about whether to pursue charges but ultimately filed a sexual battery report with the Savannah Police Department, saying she wanted them to pursue charges against Callaway.
On Twitter after the incident, Bozarjian posted video, which subsequently went viral.
"You violated, objectified, and embarrassed me," Bozarjian wrote. "No woman should EVER have to put up with this at work or anywhere!! Do better."
Callaway, when asked about her statement, said, "I totally agree 100 percent with her statement, and the two most important words were her last two words, 'do better.' And that's my intention," he said.