Over the weekend, during the Savannah Bridge Run 10K in Georgia, a local TV anchor was discussing the race when the live camera caught one of the joggers slapping her ass as he ran by. The footage went viral both because of the shocked reaction on her face and the disturbing fact that the culprit, whoever it was, seemed to touch her so casually. Like it was a normal thing to do.
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
It didn’t take long for the internet to figure out who the man was. Through the images available and his racing number, the man’s identity was quickly discovered. And wouldn’t you know it, he’s a Christian youth leader.
Tommy Callaway of Pittman Park United Methodist Church has since been banned from all future Savannah Sports Council races. He fessed up to the actions, though his lawyer’s statement needs a lot of work.
While we regret the situation, Mr. Callaway did not act with any criminal intentions. Tommy is a loving husband and father who is very active in his community. We have been in touch with WSAV and representatives for Ms. Alex Bozarjian, as well as members of Savannah law enforcement. We do not expect any criminal charges to arise from this incident, and we are working with those involved to correct the situation.
The church hasn’t issued any sort of statement through its social media, much less announced any sort of disciplinary action against Callaway, or even any show of support for the reporter. That’s not surprising. Churches are notoriously slow to take action when one of their leaders inappropriately touches someone against her will. Needless to say, parents should think twice before letting their daughters hang out with a guy whose judgment is so bad, he decided groping a stranger during a race would be good fun for everyone.
Callaway hasn’t indicated how he plans to make up for his actions, either. Right now he’s just hiding away, speaking through an attorney, shutting down (or limiting) his public online accounts. I don’t even know what he could say at this point. But it’s no longer shocking that a religious leader also happens to be the current poster child for unwanted sexual behavior.
***Update***: This post originally said Callaway was a pastor, but I haven’t been able to confirm that so I will refer to him as a “leader” as other news outlets have reported.