Georgia man who struck reporter's rear pleads guilty to sexual battery

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Media caption,
"He helped himself to a part of my body" - US reporter slapped on backside during live broadcast

A man in the US state of Georgia filmed striking a female reporter's backside during a live TV broadcast has pleaded guilty to a sexual battery charge.

Thomas Callaway was sentenced to a year on probation and must pay a $1,000 (£750) fine.

Reporter Alex Bozarjian had been covering a run when Callaway hit her.

She said she forgave him in court on Tuesday, adding: "Nobody has the right to touch anybody or slap anybody for their own amusement."

"It may seem harmless to other people," Bozarjian told ABC 8 News. "But it's obviously a toxic thought pattern because what Mr Callaway did on that bridge validates the idea that I don't deserve my own personal space.

"It also reinforces the belief that as a woman, my body doesn't belong to me. But the reality of that is it's not true - because he came in court today and plead guilty to a crime."

The video of the incident during a race in Savannah, Georgia, was viewed nearly 10 million times on Twitter last year.

In it, runner Callaway is seen striking Bozarjian's backside as he passes, causing her to stare after him in alarm before continuing her report.

Bozarjian told CBS News last year: "He took my power, and I'm trying to take that back...I think what it really comes down to is that he helped himself to a part of my body."

Following Tuesday's hearing, Bozarjian noted that Callaway had tried to apologise a number of times, and she now accepted.

"I have all my power intact today and I forgave him."

There are a number of accounts of female reporters being harassed while doing their jobs.

A 2018 survey by the International Women's Media Foundation reported 58% of female journalists surveyed indicated they had been threatened or harassed in person, and 26% said they had been physically attacked.

Media caption,
Sports journalist Bibiana Bolson: "They try to kiss us and to hug and to touch us"