Freeman faces third felony charge

Published 10:24 pm Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Felony charges continue to be added in the case of a Troy man accused of sexually harassing juveniles.

As of late Wednesday, Tripp Dennis Freeman, 20, was charged with two counts of enticement of a child and one count of first-degree sodomy. In addition, he has been charged with four misdemeanor counts of harassment.

Freeman was being held on a $202,000 bond in the Pike County Jail.

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The second enticement charge, which carries a $100,000 bond, stems from an alleged 2009 incident, said Troy Police spokesman Sgt. Benny Scarbrough. He would not elaborate on where the incident took place or the age or sex of the victim, saying only that it involved a minor.

The first enticement charge, which carries a $50,000 bond, stems from an incident reported to have taken place April 29 at Franklin Fields in Troy, also involving a juvenile.

The sodomy charge stems from an incident alleged to have taken place in February 2007 at Bush Memorial Baptist Church. According to reports, it involved a boy under the age of 12.

Scarbrough said he was unsure why the bond for one enticement charge is higher than others.

Police have said the case against Freeman began to unfold after an incident at the May 7 Relay for Life in which he allegedly made salacious comments to a 13-year-old boy. The boy’s parents filed harassment charges against Freeman on May 11. Those parents also contacted other parents to encourage them to talk to their children about possible contact with Freeman, who had previously been a part-time scorekeeper for the Troy Recreation Department.

Those conversations led to the discovery of the February 2007 incident, as well as the others being reported.

The other harassment charges include one filed on May 13, stemming from a from a March incident; a May 14 filing, stemming from a June 2009 incident; and a May 17 filing, said to stem from an incident in late January or early February of this year.

Scarbrough said one of the incidents allegedly occurred in a residence and the other two at local baseball fields, but he would not be more specific. According to city officials, Freeman has been banned from city recreational facilities.

According to Alabama State Code, sodomy is a Class A felony which carries a sentence of 10 years to life.

Enticement, which is described as someone with “lascivious” intent attempting to invite a child under the age of 16 into a vehicle, home or other private place for the purpose of sodomy or sexual intercourse, is a class C felony that carries a penalty of one to 10 years, if convicted.

The Rev. Heath Kahlbau, pastor at Bush Memorial, said in a statement released Tuesday the church had no knowledge of the alleged 2007 incident before the reports last week.

“Prior to last week, no on in our church was aware that this tragedy had occurred. Based on the allegations, as explained to our church, there was no incident of abuse which occurred during any church event when children were under the oversight and care of a ministry of our church,” the statement said.