BRUNSWICK — The much anticipated “Buttgate” sexual battery case of one Waycross city commissioner against another has been resolved.
A Friday afternoon court proceeding here nullified the need for a trial of Waycross City Commissioner Norman Davis — accused of grabbing the hindquarters of Marian Solomon-Gaines, his fellow commissioner — as the case was moved to “pre-trial diversion” in an agreement reached by the defendant’s attorney and the prosecutor.
Jury selection was to have taken place Monday morning in Glynn County State Court.
Pretrial diversion removes a defendant from prosecution prior to a guilty or nolo contendere (no contest) plea or a jury trial, Thigpen said.
By order of State Court Judge Bart Altman, Davis paid court costs of $146 and must perform 40 hours of community service, said Thigpen.
“There was absolutely no admission of guilt or responsibility on the part of Mr. Davis,” said Davis’ attorney, John Thigpen Sr.
No other parties were in attendance in the courtroom at 1 p.m. Friday, but Thigpen said the complainant, Solomon-Gaines, had agreed to the diversion.
“It was stated in open court by Assistant State Solicitor General Gerald Ramsey that Ms. Solomon-Gaines was amenable to this type of resolution of the case,” Thigpen said. “The prosecution brought this option to us.”
In 90 days at the latest, the case will be summarily dismissed and Davis’s record will be expunged, Thigpen said. It can be dismissed earlier — as soon as Davis completes the community service.
Efforts to reach principals in the case Friday afternoon were in vain. City attorney Rick Currie and city manager Raphel Maddox were unavailable as both were involved in a meeting at 3 p.m.
The case had been scheduled to go to trial Monday with jury selection set for 9 a.m. at Glynn County State Court.
Davis was charged with two counts of sexual battery against fellow commissioner Solomon-Gaines. He was arrested after Solomon-Gaines accused him of touching her buttocks at a St. Simons Island restaurant in February 2014.
Davis, Solomon-Gaines and other city of Waycross officials were at a restaurant on St. Simons on a Saturday morning when the alleged improper grabbing occurred. The commissioners were attending an out-of-town retreat that lasted a few days.
According to the official police report from the Glynn County Police Department, Davis was taken into custody on the charge on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2014, was booked into the Glynn County jail and then released on $1,256 bond.
The police report noted that Davis is alleged to have “grabbed the victim’s buttocks” and listed another city commissioner, Diane Hopkins, as a witness.
The city commissioners, along with Mayor Clarence Billups, then-city attorney Huey Spearman and then-city manager Deron King, were all a part of a goal-setting retreat.
The alleged incident took place at the Sandcastle, a restaurant in the Village at St. Simons.