THOMASVILLE — Police charged a 58-year-old Thomasville man Thursday with aggravated sexual battery and child molestation in a case involving a female under the age of 18.
Police began investigating the case last weekend when it was reported.
"It came to our attention through a relative," said Lt. Toby Knifer, Thomasville Police Department Criminal Investigations Division commander.
The child underwent a forensic interview at The Treehouse Children's Advocacy Center, and detectives talked to the suspect, Knifer said.
Anthony Christopher Thomas was arrested without incident while being interviewed at the police department.
Knifer said that if anyone knows about a child being abused in any way, it should be reported.
"It's very important for somebody to come forward and speak for that child," the commander said.
The victim might be uncomfortable or scared to report abuse, he added. If the abuse is not reported, Knifer said, physical and psychological damage will continue.
"We want to address those areas so the child can begin the healing process," Knifer said.
A child victim should report abuse to a parent or other relative, school personnel, a physician — "anyone they can trust," he said. Such individuals are mandated to report the activity, which also can be reported directly to a law enforcement agency.
Abuse might be sexual or physical, emotional or psychological.
"The damage is already with the child and will continue until the child deals with issues for years to come," Knifer said.
Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820