published Thursday, August 21st, 2014

LaFayette High School teen charged with groping woman at Walmart

A LaFayette High School student has been charged with three counts of sexual battery after police said he grabbed a stranger’s backside at the local Walmart on Aug. 14.

LaFayette police Capt. Stacey Meeks said the 16-year-old male followed a 25-year-old female around the store, where he brushed against her buttock and hip area several times while she was shopping. Eventually she lost sight of him, but he followed her out into the parking lot without her noticing.

“He came up behind her and grabbed her on the buttocks and then ran off and ran around the side of the Walmart building,” Meeks said.

Meeks said all of this is captured on Walmart surveillance video, which is also how police identified the teen. The youth’s name has not been released because he is a juvenile.

Formal charges were filed Monday, when the minor was brought in for questioning. Meeks said the family is new to the town and that the mother has been extremely cooperative with police.

“She’s on our side,” he said. “She’s very disappointed in her son’s actions.”

He said it’s likely the 16-year-old will go to Juvenile Court within the next month or so. If found guilty, the juvenile could face anything from probation to classes or a mental evaluation.

“There may or may not be some issues here psychologically with the child,” Meeks said, “but that’s something the court will have to address.”

LaFayette High School officials did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

Contact staff writer Hannah Smith at or at 423-757-6731.

about Hannah Smith...

Hannah Smith is a staff reporter for the Times Free Press. She previously worked as a Pulliam Fellow at the Indianapolis Star and as a Middle East news reporter at the Global Post in Boston. She has also spent time in broadcast, interning at Channel 13 WTHR in Indianapolis, and radio, as a reporter for American Student Radio. Hannah graduated with honors from Indiana University in May with degrees in journalism and Arabic. There she ...

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