A 49-year-old man has been arrested and charged with sexually molesting a 13-year-old at the edge of the woods of the Jasper City Park Thursday, June 14.
The incident happened as the teen and another friend were “hanging out” with a group that included other teens and adults in the park about 5 p.m., said Jasper Police Chief Greg Lovell.
George M. McTaggart, 49, of Jasper is charged with one count of molestation and one count of enticing a minor. McTaggart was homeless at the time of the incident, but has lived in the Jasper area for years, according to police officers. Jasper Police Detective Matt Dawkins said McTaggart was a regular visitor to the park and had a police record, but nothing related to sex crimes or crimes against children.
Dawkins said the victim was slightly acquainted with McTaggart prior to this.
The case is being handled as child molestation, not rape, as there was no violent abduction or attack. The victim was not physically harmed according to the GBI investigator.
McTaggart remains in the Pickens County Adult Detention Center.
Police Chief Lovell said it was a case of the victim being lured away from the group, not being violently abducted.
This is the first crime of this nature recorded at the city park that police officers could recall.
Chief Lovell said, “The Jasper City Park is safe, but leaving kids there unsupervised is not a good idea.”
The GBI and Jasper Police are both involved in the investigation, which is continuing.