Chattanooga jailer waives hearing in nightclub incident

Chattanooga jailer waives hearing in nightclub incident

January 7th, 2012 by Beth Burger in News

Hamilton County Sheriff's Office Cpl. Jerry Melbert appears in front of Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Don Poole after being charged with sexual battery and assault of a woman at a nightclub.

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

A Hamilton County jailer entered no plea Friday morning in Hamilton County Criminal Court after he was accused of molesting a woman on a dance floor last summer.

Corporal Jerry Melbert, 42, of Chattanooga, faces charges of sexual battery and assault after he allegedly pulled the zipper on a woman's blouse and placed his finger in her cleavage at The Palms, at 6925 Shallowford Road.

Melbert appeared before Criminal Court Judge Don Poole on Friday morning, choosing to waive his hearing. His next court date is set for Feb. 16. He declined to comment Friday outside the courtroom.

The woman, who did not know Melbert, was at the club with her husband, who stepped in after the incident, according to the Chattanooga Police Department arrest report.

Melbert left the club, and a witness recorded his license plate number. Investigators reviewed the security footage and issued a warrant for Melbert's arrest.

Melbert remains on unpaid administrative leave at the sheriff's office pending the outcome of a trial.

He has been employed at the sheriff's office since October 1998. He has a previous disciplinary record with the office, resulting in a demotion from sergeant.