A runner accused of smacking a female reporter’s backside on live television during a race in Georgia last weekend is facing a misdemeanor charge of sexual battery.
Thomas Callaway, 43, was arrested on Friday after he turned himself in, the Savannah Police Department told NBC News.
Callaway was later released on $1,300 bail.
Authorities charged Callaway with sexual battery, a misdemeanor offense in Georgia that carries a prison term of up to one year in jail, according to online jail records.
Callaway’s attorney declined to comment publicly on the matter.
The incident, which went viral on social media, took place on December 7 while WSAV reporter Alex Bozarjian was conducting a live broadcast of the Enmarket Savannah Bridge Run.
The charge comes after Bozarjian filed a sexual battery report with the police against the man, telling the Savannah Police Department he smacked and grabbed her buttocks while running past her on the bridge.
Bozarjian, shocked and shaken by the slap, tweeted soon after the race, “No woman should EVER have to put up with this at work or anywhere!!”
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
Callaway has also been banned from participating in all future races sponsored by the Savannah Sports Council, the company sponsoring the run.
Callaway apologized to the television station, WSAV, shortly after the incident and also apologized to Bozarjian’s family and friends.
“I feel awful, I feel embarrassed and ashamed,” he said in the interview with the station after the incident.
Bozarjian’s attorney, Gloria Allred, said in a statement Friday that “Alex is looking forward to justice in this case.”
The station has condemned Callaway’s conduct as “completely unacceptable” and threw its full support behind Bozarjian.