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Claxton auto dealer faces cruelty, molestation attempt charges
Attorney: Demere NeSmith denies allegations
Nesmith mug Web
Demere NeSmith

A Claxton auto dealer was jailed Monday on charges of inappropriate behavior with a child after an almost two-month long investigation. The allegations concern his own child, according to Statesboro attorney Dan Snipes.

Demere NeSmith, dealer principal for NeSmith Chevrolet, faces charges of cruelty to a child and criminal attempt to commit child molestation, according to a press release from Catherine Sapp, special agent-in-charge for the Statesboro office of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

The Evans County Sheriff’s Department contacted the GBI June 29 “to investigate allegations of impropriety on behalf of Demere NeSmith,” the statement read.  “On Monday, Aug. 17, warrants were issued for … the offenses of cruelty to children and criminal attempt to commit child molestation.”

Sapp said the alleged multiple incidents took place at several Evans County locations, which were undisclosed. The case remains under investigation, she said.

Snipes’ statement, released late Tuesday evening, read: “Demere Nesmith and his ex-wife are currently engaged in civil litigation over visitation of their child.  These allegations have been made during the pendency of this case.  Mr. Nesmith denies these charges and would never take any action to harm his child.  Mr. Nesmith has been cooperating with authorities.  While he regrets the recent actions of law enforcement, he will continue to cooperate with this ongoing investigation. “

The age and sex of the child were not released by Snipes or GBI authorities.

NeSmith, 43, of a Perkins Mill Road address, was booked into the Evans County Jail at 12:20 p.m. Monday, and was bonded out at 12:40 p.m. by his wife, Ashley NeSmith, who posted a $65,000 property bond, according to booking information from the Evans County Jail.

Ms. NeSmith answered a call to her home Tuesday afternoon and said her family’s public relations firm would issue a statement Tuesday and the firm would contact the Statesboro Herald.

A phone call to NeSmith Chevrolet seeking comment was addressed by a call from a public relations representative, Pam Hartley from Momentum Marketing, who said there would be no statement issued Tuesday about “allegations, not facts” regarding NeSmith’s arrest.

His recent arrest was not the first time NeSmith faced accusations of inappropriate contact with a juvenile.

NeSmith was arrested Oct. 12, 2010 on simple battery charges stemming from an Aug. 27, 2010 incident where he allegedly acted inappropriately with a 16-year-old girl at a Claxton business.

A bench trial resulted in a conviction of simple battery, but a witness to the incident said the teen’s family had originally pursued sexual battery charges.

Houston Hodges, who owns the business, said Tuesday his teenage employee had been holding NeSmith’s infant child when NeSmith started making inappropriate comments. Then, when the teen went into the kitchen, NeSmith groped the girl as she held the baby, Hodges said.

According to records from the Evans County Clerk of Courts office, NeSmith was at Hoody’s Hoagies Aug. 27 between times of 7 and 9 p.m. when he “intentionally made physical contact of an insulting and provoking nature with (the victim) by placing his hands on the hips of said victim.” The act occurred twice, without the victim’s consent, the records stated.

Snipes did not comment Tuesday on NeSmith’s previous conviction.

 

Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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