A former Chattanooga businessman charged last fall with his second case of having sex with a minor was indicted this week in Catoosa County, Ga.
The Catoosa County grand jury indicted 44-year-old Greg Austin on Wednesday on a charge of pandering for a person under 18.
The felony charge stems from October, when police claim Austin solicited a girl under 18 years old to either perform sex with him or on behalf of another person, then met her at a Fort Oglethorpe hotel, the indictment states.
That same night, police say, Austin had sex with a 17-year-old girl at the hotel while a 13-year-old girl watched. A 15-year-old girl also was in the room but told police she was in the bathroom while the sex was taking place.
Austin was charged with child molestation in that incident, but that charge wasn’t taken to the grand jury.
“It’s important to point out that the serious allegations didn’t make their way through the grand jury,” said Austin’s attorney, Bryan Hoss.
Under Georgia law, felony pandering is a lesser charge than child molestation.
Austin, former president of Chattanooga-based CTC Technologies, will be arraigned next week. Hoss said his client will plead not guilty.
In April 2010, Austin was charged with statutory rape, accused of having sex with a 14-year-old girl at an East Ridge hotel.
That Hamilton County charge is still pending in the grand jury. County Assistant District Attorney Neal Pinkston declined to comment on the case.
In the Catoosa case, Austin was given a $10,000 bond that was revoked just days later. Magistrate Judge Vic Wells said he ordered Austin back to jail when he realized Austin had a pending charge in Hamilton County.
Wells acted even though the 15-year-old who was in the Fort Oglethorpe hotel changed her story, telling officials Austin didn’t have sex with anyone during the encounter.
When asked why she changed her story, the teen said that when police interviewed her she was “scared to death” and thought she would go to jail.
In December, a $50,000 bond was set for Austin. It came with a long list of conditions including having no contact with any child under 18, except his own children. He has at least two daughters.
Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...