Elizabethton man charged with fondling young girl at church festival

Johnson City Press • Nov 12, 2015 at 2:59 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Police arrested an Elizabethton man Thursday on charges that he fondled a girl younger than 13 at a church festival in October.

Justin Claude Richardson, 23, Pine Ridge Circle, was charged with aggravated sexual battery.

On Oct. 24, police began investigating a report filed by the child’s mother resulting from an incident that happened at a fall festival at a local church that same day. The girl, a sibling and a neighbor’s child had attended the festival together.

The girl told police a man she had never seen before was staring at her and asked her how she was getting home from the festival. While walking down a hallway, he grabbed her buttocks and squeezed. The victim's statement was corroborated by two other children who had observed the incident, police said.

The man was later identified as Richardson, police said, and the case was presented to a Carter County grand jury. The jury returned a true bill indicting Richardson, resulting in his arrest Thursday.

He was held in the Carter County Jail on $25,000 bond awaiting a Criminal Court appearance set for Jan. 22.

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