Runner Who Slapped Reporter's Backside on Live TV Arrested for Sexual Battery
Thomas Callaway groped WSAV-TV reporter Alex Bozarjian during her live coverage of a race in Georgia last weekend
Thomas Callaway, the runner who slapped reporter Alex Bozarjian’s backside on live TV last weekend, was arrested on Friday.
Jail records from the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office show that Callaway, 43, was arrested on Friday for sexual battery. Callaway turned himself in and has since been released on a $1,300 bond, according to multiple outlets, including The New York Times, NBC News and Bozarjian’s home network WSAV-TV.
The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office and W. Joseph Turner, who is Callaway’s lawyer, did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Bozarjian’s attorney Gloria Allred did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment, but told WSAV-TV in a statement: “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.”
Allred’s statement continued: “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.”
A statement from Bozarjian’s employer WSAV-TV about the arrest read: “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. WSAV continues to support Alex completely as this case moves forward.”
Earlier this week, Callaway, who is a youth minister, apologized for his “awful act” and said that he acted out of character when he groped Bozarjian during her live coverage of the Enmarket Savannah Bridge Run in Georgia last weekend.
“I was getting ready to bring my hands up and wave to the camera, to the audience, and there was a misjudgment in character and decision-making. I touched her back. I did not know exactly where I touched her,” he told Inside Edition on Tuesday.
Bozarjian shared the moment of the incident on Twitter last weekend, and she is visibly shocked after Callaway touches her.
“To the man who smacked my butt on live TV this morning: You violated, objectified, and embarrassed me,” she wrote on Twitter alongside the 16-second clip. “No woman should EVER have to put up with this at work or anywhere!! Do better.”
“I totally agree 100 percent with her statement,” Callaway, a married father of two, told Inside Edition. “The two most important words were her last two words, ‘Do better,’ and that’s my intention.”
Bozarjian said on CBS This Morning Tuesday that Callaway’s slap was a “heavy impact.”
“He hit me hard,” she said, adding that watching the footage back is a bit of an out-of-body experience. “I think what is most important here is he took my power, and I’m trying to take that back.”
Inside Edition reported that Bozarjian filed a sexual battery report with the police. Callaway’s lawyer told CBS that the Boy Scout leader “did not act with any criminal intentions.”
“Whether I’m open to [hearing his apology] or not, I want to take my time with that,” Bozarjian said on CBS This Morning. “I think what it really comes down to is, he helped himself to a part of my body.”
The Savannah Sports Council, which owns and operates the bridge run, has since announced that Callaway will not be allowed to participate in any of its future events.
“We will not tolerate behavior like this at a Savannah Sports Council event. We have made the decision to ban this individual from registering for all Savannah Sports Council owned races,” the council said on Twitter Sunday.