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Barnesville councilman arrested

By Walter Geiger Veteran Barnesville city councilman Sammie Shropshire turned himself in at the Lamar County jail just after 2 p.m. Monday. Shropshire surrendered shortly after chief magistrate William Thomas signed a warrant for two GBI agents charging him with one count of misdemeanor sexual battery. The charges arose out of allegations that Shropshire made unwanted advances toward a female Certified Nursing Assistant at Heritage Inn and touched her inappropriately. Shropshire is reportedly a frequent visitor to the nursing home where his mother, Elizabeth Shropshire, is a patient. Sammie Shropshire, who represents Ward 3, assumed his council seat in 2004 and is a former mayor pro tem. A bond hearing is set for later this afternoon. UPDATE: Shropshire, 63, appeared before Judge Thomas at a bond hearing at about 3:20 p.m. Monday. He was dressed in street clothes, not the usual jail coverall. He acknowledged that he understood the charge and his rights as read to him by the judge. Judge Thomas explained that Shropshire is entitled to a probable cause hearing at which his attorney can cross examine the GBI agents who took the warrant against him. “You can also tell your side of the story,” Judge Thomas added, promising such a hearing would be held in a timely manner if requested by Shropshire’s attorney. Judge Thomas noted the maximum sentence for misdemeanor sexual battery is 12 months in jail and a $1000 fine plus surcharges. Shropshire was released shortly after the hearing on a $1000 bond – an amount equal to the fine related to the charge. Judge Thomas admonished Shropshire to stay away from the alleged victim in the case whom he named in open court. The Herald Gazette does not identify sex assault victims in its news coverage unless there are unusual circumstances. Judge Thomas told Shropshire he could visit his mother at the nursing home but not when the victim is at work. ”That is your responsibility. That ball is in your court,” the judge warned Shropshire. In a phone interview, Joe Wooten, special agent in charge of the Milledgeville office of the GBI, said Barnesvile police investigators requested GBI assistance Dec. 22 and that the incident from which the charges resulted occurred a few days prior to that.

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