SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A man pleaded guilty in court Tuesday morning for slapping a television reporter on the rear during a live report in December.
Thomas Callaway pleaded guilty to sexual battery. He was sentenced to one-year probation and 200 hours of community service. He was also fined $1,000.
The crime happened on Dec. 7 while WSAV’s Alex Bozarjian was reporting live at the Enmarket Savannah Bridge Run. Callaway, who was participating in the race, slapped Bozarjian’s backside while running past her.
Video of the incident went viral that same day and has since been viewed millions of times.
Shortly after the incident, Bozarjian appeared on “CBS This Morning” and said Callaway slapped her hard enough not only to startle her but also to physically hurt her.
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
“He separates himself from the runners and he kind of winds up and, you know, he hit me hard,” Bozarjian said in the interview.
She also touched on why the video got so much attention online. “It was extremely vulnerable,” Bozarjian said, adding, “I would say that the reason why maybe it caught so much fire is that the emotion is extremely relatable for women all over the world.”
After the sentencing, Bozarjian made this statement: “A non-consensual butt slap may seem harmless to some people. Other people would go as far as to call it flattering, but that’s obviously a toxic thought pattern because what Mr. Callaway did on that bridge validates the idea that I don’t deserve my own personal space. It also reinforces the belief that as a woman, my body doesn’t belong to me.
“But the reality of that is it’s not true because he came in court today and pled guilty to a crime.
“While I understand that this has probably disrupted his life more than he ever imagined, nobody has a right to touch anybody or slap anybody for their own amusement.
“I came here in court today to finally accept his apology because he has tried to apologize a number of times. I have all my power intact today and I forgave him.
“All I really hope is that going forward in the future, he will do better.”