Man arrested for sexual battery at church had several prior comp - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Man arrested for sexual battery at church had several prior complaints

(SOURCE: Bartlett PD) (SOURCE: Bartlett PD)
BARTLETT, TN (WMC) -

A man is behind bars after a teenager said he inappropriately touched her at church.

Robert Stephen Austin, 67, is accused of touching a girl's breast while she sat in the church gym with her youth group.

According to Bartlett police, the 17-year-old was sitting in the gym at Faith Baptist Church on April 26 at a round table talking with a friend. The teen said she had her elbows on the table and then someone placed a hand under her arm and put his fingers on her left breast.

"He kept his fingers there for a couple seconds," the teen told police, according to the affidavit.

The teenager said when she turned to see who was touching her, Austin turned away and left the gym.

During the investigation, police said the head of church security for Faith Baptist Church said the church had received several complaints about his behavior with children and women at the church. 

The church turned over several emails, dating back to August 2015, to investigators regarding the complaints on Austin. 

Austin told police he did not remember touching anyone inappropriately and said he pokes girls in their rib cage sometimes, but only as a joke. 

Austin is charged with one count of sexual battery.

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