ATHENS, Ga. -- Athens-Clarke police arrested a legless man Tuesday night on charges he raped an 11-year-old relative at his home on Athens’ Eastside.
Elbert Roman Tate, 33, was charged with rape, child molestation, aggravated sexual battery and sexual battery, police said.
A judge denied bail during Tate’s bond hearing Wednesday in Athens-Clarke County Magistrate Court.
Tate lives on Barnett Shoals Road with a woman who became suspicious after the man made two trips in a wheelchair to use a restroom on the other side of the home, even though there was another one next to their bedroom, Athens-Clarke police Capt. Clarence Holeman said.
“She felt something wasn’t right because he was gone so long, and she actually heard him go into the bathroom that’s adjacent to the child’s bedroom,” Holeman said.
One time, Tate returned about 45 minutes after he told the woman he’s used the restroom, Holeman said.
Someone later drove Tate to an apartment at Clarke Gardens off Barnett Shoals Road, Holeman said, and that’s when the woman acted on her suspicions and asked her daughter if anything happened.
That’s when the girl told her mother that Tate had wheeled himself into her room, climbed into her bed, then fondled and raped her, Holeman said.
Investigators collected evidence that corroborated the girl’s story, according to Holeman,
“I don’t want to say what we have, but it’s definitely a good case and we can back it up in court,” he said.
Holeman, who is commanding officer of the Centralized Criminal Investigations Division, found this case particularly disturbing, he said.
“I read the report (Wednesday) morning with disgust,” he said. “To me, the job of law enforcement is to protect people, especially children, and this (case) is extremely hard to deal with.”
Just three weeks before his arrest, on Jan. 17, a Clarke County State Court judge placed Tate on probation for two years after he pleaded guilty to simple battery and obstruction of a 911 call that stemmed from an altercation with the rape victim’s mother in November, according to court records.