The runner who slapped a TV reporter’s behind is a local youth minister who claims he wants to “correct the situation” — while the journalist on the receiving end of his hand says he “hurt me, both physically and emotionally.”
Tommy Callaway was identified as the Savannah, Ga., 10K racer who slapped WSAV-TV anchor Alex Bozarjian, after online sleuths found him thanks to his race number shown in other photos.
Callaway is a youth group leader at his church, Pittman Park UMC, as well as a Boy Scout leader, according to Heavy, based on social media sites that he quickly took down as he was outed and banned from future races.
His lawyer, Joseph Turner, called him a “loving husband and father who is very active in his community” and local church, insisting he was “working with those involved to correct the situation.”
“While we regret the situation, Mr. Callaway did not act with any criminal intentions,” Turner said in a statement.
Speaking on CBS TV’s “This Morning” on Tuesday, Bozarjian confirmed that Callaway “did try to make contact ” with her to say that “his intentions were not to hurt me, he didn’t intend to do it.
“I’m not going to really debate that — because he did hurt me,” she insisted of the slap that she said had a “heavy impact.”
“He separates himself from the runners, and he kind of winds up. And he hit me hard,” she said.
“He helped himself to a part of my body,” she added, saying it left her in “disbelief” and “inundated with some female guilt” because of some of the harsh online comments suggesting she was at fault.
“It’s not OK to help yourself to a woman’s body just because you feel like it. It’s not playful. He hurt me, both physically and emotionally,” Bozarjian said.
While Callaway’s lawyer said they “do not expect any criminal charges,” Bozarjian said she filed a police report and is leaving it up to officers.
“I think what is most important here is he took my power, and I’m trying to take that back,” she said. “I want to take my time with that.”
Savannah police did not immediately return requests for comment.