Former Commissioner Charged with Sexual Battery

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Maryville, Blount County (WVLT) - A former Blount County Commissioner is out on bond, police arrested Eliga Hall on sexual battery charges.

Our Blount County Bureau Chief, Stephen Mclamb has been following the case.

He's in our newsroom with a closer look.

At 79-years-old, Eliga Hall is charged with sexual battery on a 16-year-old boy sometime between May and October 2005.
Family members say he's innocent and some old political allies say they're shocked by the allegations.

Eliga Hall once served as a Blount county commissioner from 1978 to 1982. Now, he's charged with sexual battery and sexual battery by an authority figure of a 16 year old boy. Some in politics both now and then say they're surprised.

"I guess to say that I'm shocked is more than a mild, .it just boggles my mind," says Blount County Jerry Cunningham.

"Well, it's a total surprise because it's completely out of character from the Eliga Hall that I know," says Darrell Tipton, who served on the Blount County Commission with Hall.

Hall was charged stemming from a TBI investigation and subsequent indictment and court records give no information about the alleged crime.

A former commissioner says Hall was always someone who gave back to the community.

"Very concerned about people, about the community. When he served on the county commission he was very conservative, wanted to be sure we did the right things for the county," Tipton says.

School officials say Hall as served for years as a volunteer in the ticket booth for Heritage High school athletics but now will not be allowed to continue because of the allegations.

Hall will soon face a judge on the charges and some who know him are wishing him well.

"I've never seen any evidence of this kind of thing out of Eliga Hall and he's always been my friend and my supporter and it's just tragic," says Cunningham.

Hall's attorney Craig Garrett says the young man making the allegations has a checkered past and feels these charges are being made in an effort to deflect his and his families legal troubles.

Garrett adds the charges have nothing to do with his voluntary service at Heritage High School.

Hall is expected to be arraigned December 19th.