Man charged with sodomy

Published 11:23 pm Friday, May 14, 2010

A 20-year-old former scorekeeper for the city recreation department has been charged with sodomy involving a juvenile boy.

Tripp Dennis Freeman was being held Friday on a $50,000 bond in the Pike County Jail after being charged late Thursday night.

The alleged incident took place on Feb. 4, 2007, at Bush Memorial Baptist Church, according to a case file in the Pike County Courthouse. The age of the victim could not be released, although a clerk’s office employee said the boy was under the age of 12 at the time.

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Troy Police spokesman Sgt. Benny Scarbrough said Freeman was taken into custody pending arrest Thursday afternoon and was officially arrested and taken to the Pike County Jail around 10 p.m. that day.

Even though he was 17 at the time of the incident, Freeman is being charged as an adult. If convicted, he could face 10 years to life in prison, according to Alabama Code.

Freeman initially was arrested May 11 on a misdemeanor harassment charge involving another juvenile. That charge stems from an incident May 7 at the Pike County Relay for Life, said the father of the alleged harassment victim whose name won’t be released due to the nature of the incident.

“Friday (my 13-year-old son) was at Relay for Life with his brother and friends. He was in the back of the tent and (Freeman) approached him and squatted behind him and started whispering some salacious sexual things,” the father said.

The man said his son immediately approached a police officer, called his parents and went home. “When he came home he was white and shaken and really distraught,” the father said.

He said the family has known Freeman for a few years from time spent at baseball parks in Troy. Freeman frequented the city ballparks, as an employee and also as a spectator.

Dan Smith, recreation director for the city, said Freeman worked as a part-time scorekeeper for baseball games during the 2009 season and for a few years prior to that. He said there was no particular reason why Freeman was not a scorekeeper this year in Troy, simply that he must not have applied for the role.

After the harassment charge was filed, the Troy Recreation Department delivered a letter to Freeman, banning him from the city recreation facilities, said Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford.

Before filing a police report on Sunday, the 13-year-old boy’s father said he told Freeman’s father and the Troy Recreation Department officials what had taken place.

Since the incident, the father said he and his wife had been calling parents of their son’s friends and other parents, encouraging them to talk to their children.

“Parents have come out of the woodwork,” he said. That process led to the discovery of the alleged sodomy incident in 2007.

Scarbrough said Friday more interviews were being conducted.

“Due to the fact that it continues to be investigated and there are other potential victims, we will not comment further,” he said.

Scarbrough would not say if Freeman had confessed to either of these incidents. Keep posted to for updates.