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Illicit CP - January 2006

Corpun file 17244

logo (WTVC-TV), Chattanooga, Tennessee, 12 January 2006

Red Bank Businessman Classified as Sex Offender for Spanking Employees

By Anne Thompson

The operator of a snow-cone business in Red Bank, Tennessee had a clause in his employees' contract that said he could quote, "bust their behinds as he sees fit."

The problem, police say, is that he took that clause literally.

Paul Eugene Leavengood pleaded guilty Thursday to charges he spanked two of his female employees. Prosecutors say what happened to at least the two young women was not only inappropriate, it was criminal.

Leavengood made the guilty plea before Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Doug Meyer Thursday morning. Judge Meyer sentenced Leavengood to 2 years supervised probation. Leavengood must also register as a sex offender with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. The judge also ordered Leavengood not to have any contact with the victims, to continue counseling, and not to have unsupervised contact with females under the age of 18. After the sentencing, Leavengood stood outside the court with his attorney, Kenton Holloway, and said, "We hate everything that happened. I wish it never had."

Assistant District Attorney Jason Thomas was ready for a trial, but Thursday Leavengood agreed to plead guilty to two counts of sexual battery.

Thomas says the atmosphere at the Red Bank business was inappropriate, "It was to some degree sexual in nature, with some joking and some things going on. You might call them overtones."

Two of the young women who worked for Leavengood, and were spanked, came forward to authorities. Thomas says it would have been hard on the women to go through a trial, to testify about the sensitive nature of what happened to them, but he also says they are two young ladies of tremendous grit.

Except for his attorney, Leavengood sat alone in Judge Doug Meyer's court.

After his sentencing, he told us that his actions have taken a toll on him and his family, so he accepted the plea agreement. Leavengood said, "It isn't necessarily what I wanted to do, but I also have to look at the feelings of other folks and how it affects them. So that weighed pretty heavily on our decision. I'm anxious to have this behind me."

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