Surveillance Tape Captures Alleged Foot Fetish Man - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

EXCLUSIVE ON 6: Surveillance Video Captures Alleged Foot Fetish Man in Action; Victim Speaks Out

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A Langley man, who police say has a foot fetish, is accused of assaulting a woman at an Aiken WalMart.

Police arrested and charged 44-year-old Joey Leaphart for simple assault and battery after they say he touched a woman without her consent.

He has since bonded out of jail.

The alleged victim in that assault says she feels violated.

When you think about an assault, you typically think about someone pushing or shoving someone, or some sort of violent attack, possibly even a rape – but police say an assault is any violation of personal space – or any unwarranted touch.

The entire incident was also caught on camera.

In a surveillance video from an Aiken Walmart, investigators say you can see Carol Owens headed to the checkout. Then, you see a man loitering behind her and bending down.

"I had flip flops on and I feel something on the ankle part of my leg and feel something under my foot," said Carol Owens.

"It was wet and round - and I put my foot down and it mushed so I thought I stepped on a grape," said Owens.

That's when Owens says she recognized the man--identified as Joey Leaphart-- from T-V reports of an earlier case where he is accused of kissing and smelling a woman's foot without her consent at the WalMart in Grovetown.

"I knew it was Joey Leaphart. He says I forgot my gum and I need to get it and I said no, you need to back off," said Owens.

"It is very odd - it's not something we see everyday," said Lt. Karl Odenthal.

Police say the accused toe-sucker has pulled similar stunts in the past. Owens says she is shaken up by the incident.

"Assault means to me an unwanted touch by someone you don't want. Everyone has a personal space.  If I ask you into mine, that's ok but if I don't, don't touch me," said Owens.

"It is unauthorized touching - and that's what happened in this case," said Odenthal.

Owens says she wants to share her story so others can come forward.

"I get a call that he's going to share his side of the story. He doesn't have a story, he has a rap sheet. It angers me and I am going to speak up for myself and other victims," said Owens.

This is not Leaphart's first run in with police - last February, police in North Augusta arrested him for asking women for money. Leaphart was also issued a tress-pass notice from that same Aiken Walmart last year.  And back in 2000, Aiken County investigators convicted him for committing a lewd act on a teenager, and made him register as a sex offender.

 

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