A registered sex offender accused of exposing himself to a 12-year-old girl was denied a request to have a child molestation charge dropped during a Thursday hearing in Recorder’s Court.
Donnell Russell, 38, of Columbus also faced a public indecency charge during a 2 p.m. hearing in connection with the Tuesday incident on Schaul Street.
Represented by public defender Charles Lykins, Russell pleaded not guilty to both charges before Judge Julius Hunter denied his attorney’s request to drop the molestation charge and ordered him held on bonds totaling $2,750 in the Muscogee County Jail.
Both charges were bound over to Superior Court.
Never miss a local story.
Officer Sherman Hayes said police were called to the area to check on a public indecency complaint when the girl’s mother said a man with a green cup in his hand was walking in front of their home about 6 p.m. when he stopped near their driveway.
He placed the green cup in his mouth, smiled and turned toward the girl and her mother sitting on the front porch.
Hayes said Russell started urinating on the street as the girl ran inside the house. The girl’s mother told the man that he was nasty.
“She checked on her daughter then called police,” Hayes said. “She never spoke to the man before.”
In a statement to police, the girl said she never saw anything like that before she left the porch.
During a search for the suspect, Hayes said police went to a nearby house and couldn’t get anyone to the door.
Police were called two hours later and told the man was sitting on a porch.
Russell was taken into custody. He first told police that he walked past the house but didn’t stop.
When police said he would be charged, Russell said he had to use the restroom as he walked past the house and that he stood behind a tree to keep anyone from seeing him.
Hayes told the judge the tree is two feet from the woman’s front porch. “He said he checked and nobody was outside,” the officer said.
Lykins questioned whether Russell met the provision of the state law on the child molestation charge.
Under Georgia law, the offense of child molestation occurs when a person does an immoral or indecent act to or in the presence of a child under age 16 with the intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of either the child or the person.
The attorney questioned whether the act was done to arouse or satisfy Russell.
The girl’s mother said her daughter was traumatized by the incident and told the judge, “As her mother, I have the right to stand up for my child.”
In denying Lykins’ request, Hunter said that’s a question for a jury on the molestation charge. “Mr Russell was smiling when this act was performed,” Hunter said.