Columbus courts: Man accused of molestation pleads guilty to lesser charge

A Columbus man initially facing a child molestation accusation for relieving himself within view of a 7-year-old girl pleaded guilty Monday to a lesser charge.

Charles K. Hart, 55, pleaded guilty before Muscogee County Superior Court Judge Bobby Peters to public indecency and was sentenced to a year of supervised probation. The child molestation charge against him was dismissed, court records state.

Hart was accused of driving to the end of Watkins Drive on Feb. 20, getting out of his Chevrolet Blazer and urinating within view of the girl. The girl’s father said his daughters were playing in the cul-de-sac and moved out of the way to allow the suspect, identified by police as Hart, to drive past them and park in the driveway of a landscaping company.

Assistant District Attorney Letitia Sikes said the child molestation statute requires that a defendant intend to arouse the sexual desires of either the child or himself.