The Runner and the Reporter

I assume you’ve recently heard or read about the 23-year-old female TV reporter who was covering a 5K run in Savannah, GA, when a 43-year-old male runner reportedly slapped her backside as he jogged past her. On live camera when the incident occurred, the young woman was visibly disturbed. She filed a complaint, and the jogger was arrested – after turning himself in – on a misdemeanor charge of sexual battery, then released on $1,300 bail. If the case goes before a jury, and he is found guilty, he could be punished with up to one year in jail. 

                      The runner and the reporter

“He violated, objectivated and embarrassed me. No woman should ever have to put up with this at work or anywhere!!  Do better,” the reporter declared. Watching the clip – which has received about 10 million views to date – it’s obvious the man makes physical contact with her. But the episode takes place quickly, and we only see the reporter from the front.

The man reportedly is married, the father of two children, a youth minister with a Methodist Church and a scout leader with the Boy Scouts of America for decades. He has been a salesman with the same company for 12 years. Since the incident, he’s been called a “pervert, creepy, a groper” and more by the media and others. The Savannah Sports Council has banned him for life from participating in races or other sporting events, and the Boy Scouts has parted ways with him.  

“I am not that person that people are portraying me as,” he said. “I make mistakes, I’m not perfect and I’m asking for forgiveness.  I did not mean to do this. I think you’re a great, great asset to this community and to the local media and to the national media. You’re very talented. You’re an amazing woman from what I’ve gathered, and I apologize.”

                        Runner apologizing
                 Photo: Inside Edition/YouTube

The man explained that he was “caught up in the moment,” and getting ready to bring his hands up and wave to the camera. “I touched her back. I didn’t know exactly where I touched her. I did not see her facial reaction as I just kept on running. If I did see her facial reaction, I would have felt embarrassed and ashamed and stopped and turned around to apologize to her,” he told news outlets. “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.”

The reporter said she hasn’t yet decided if she’d accept his apology. She called his behavior “deplorable.”

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