Runner who ‘smacked’ reporter’s ‘butt’ on live television arrested on sexual battery charge

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Richard Agbolo Reporters / YouTube TV reporter speaks up after man 1575846515.jpg...
Richard Agbolo Reporters / YouTube

Alex Bozarjian, a reporter for WSAV-TV who was covering a local race in Savannah, Georgia went viral last weekend because a then-unidentified male race participant allegedly smacked her backside while jogging by on Saturday, Dec. 7. The reporter’s expression after being smacked rings in as particularly emotional and recognizable; confusion, shock, then resignation to continuing to do her job. Like too many women and non-binary people know, unwanted contact happens all of the time and perpetrators are rarely held accountable.

Bozarjian, however, has a unique situation—given that this happened on live television, the clip quickly went viral. Now, the jogger has been identified and he’s facing a misdemeanor charge.

Thomas Callaway, a 43-year-old from Statesboro, Georgia, turned himself in on Friday, Dec. 13. He faces a misdemeanor sexual battery charge which is punishable by up to one year in county jail. He was released on a $1,300 bond and his court date is currently pending.

What does Callaway have to say about the incident?

“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,” Callaway told Inside Edition in an interview. “I touched her back. I did not know exactly where I touched her.” His lawyer, Joseph Turner, has stressed that Callaway is a “loving husband and father,” though being a husband nor a father excuses any of this behavior.

“It was an awful act and an awful mistake,” he said in an apology on Tuesday evening. “I am not that person that people are portraying me as. I make mistakes, I’m not perfect and I’m asking for forgiveness and to accept my apology.” He claims he saw others run by the reporter and wave to the camera, which inspired him to try and do the same. The clip appears to shows no attempt of him waving.

In Bozarjian’s now-viral tweet, she alleges that he “smacked” her “butt.”

In the report Bozarjian filed with the Savannah Police Department, she alleged that the man slapped and grabbed her behind in one motion as he was running on the bridge.

Bozarjian is far from the only person upset about this behavior. BuzzFeed News reports that the Boy Scouts of America cut ties with Callaway over the allegations, as well as the Savannah Sports Council, who sponsored the race, banned him from future events.

“It’s not okay to help yourself to a woman’s body just because you feel like it,” Bozarjian stated during her CBS This Morning interview. “It’s not playful. He hurt me, both physically and emotionally.”

“I think in order to make any kind of change, you have to be a little bit drastic,” she continued. “You have to, kind of, chip away at this toxic culture that permeates our society. ”

Here’s that powerful interview.

After the arrest, WSAV released the following statement in support of their employee:

“The conduct displayed 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. WSAV continues to support Alex completely as this case moves forward.”

Here is the interview Callaway gave.

Saturday morning, Bozarjian’s attorney, Gloria Allred, emailed the following statement, as reported by WSAV.

“Alex Bozarjian 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.”

When speaking to CBS, Bozarjian clarified that no matter what Callaway’s intentions may have been, it’s his actions that ultimately matter. “He took my power, and I’m trying to take that back,” Bozarjian stated.

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3 Comments on "Runner who ‘smacked’ reporter’s ‘butt’ on live television arrested on sexual battery charge"

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Rutokin
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Rutokin

I was hoping they would get that guy. Nobody deserves to have that done to them. Regardless if he was caught up in minute, it’s totally wrong and he needs to pay the consequences

Inzane
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Inzane

Who knows how often he does this with no cameras around.
Says he was going to wave..from down there?

Gary Yates
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Gary Yates

I guess I have to be the insensitive one here, but I think this woman is making a mountain out of a molehill. I have watched the film several times and if not for the look on her face one would have never seen it. But now she is intent of dragging this man down hells lane for what, what “power” did she lose? Maybe he was just trying to pull that stick out of her prudish ***!!