Picking up two 13-year-old girls last year and offering them cash to expose themselves put Andy John Quattlebaum in jail under charges of child molestation and enticing a child for indecent purposes.
On Thursday, the 42-year-old Columbus man pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual battery, had the original charges dismissed, and received five years in prison, followed by five on probation.
It started in the early hours of July 20, 2007, when Quattlebaum met the girls while driving in his Ford F-150 truck. Assistant District Attorney Crawford Seals said disagreement still exists as to whether the girls flagged him down or Quattlebaum initiated the contact. What isn't disputed is that once inside the truck, Quattlebaum offered them cash to expose themselves.
Shortly afterward, a police officer just happened by Comer Auditorium, where Quattlebaum was parked. When questioned, the girls tried to hide what happened, Seals said. One of them flushed the money Quattlebaum had given her down a toilet.
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Quattlebaum was cooperative with police, said his attorney, Richard Hagler.
"There is no indication he is a predator," Seals said. "They told him they were older, but he should have known because they looked younger. We agreed to do this (the sentence recommendation) under the circumstances."
Seals said Quattlebaum could have faced a maximum of 120 years if convicted of his original charges. He recommended the five-year prison sentence, though Hagler argued Muscogee County Superior Court Judge Frank Jordan Jr. should consider something lower. His client was flagged down by the girls, Hagler said, and doesn't show a pattern of this type of behavior.
"I have considered the character letters from character witnesses," Jordan said. "I have considered the fact that he has no record and has been cooperative."
But, Jordan added, he also considered what could have happened if an officer hadn't of driven by when he did. He then sentenced Quattlebaum under the first-offender statute and gave him 30 days to report to jail.