Sexual abuse charges stem from hotel parking lot incident
By J.J. Kindred | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The incident involving a Maryville business owner arrested Friday on several sex-related charges in Rutherford County involving a 14-year-old Maryville girl happened in May 2011, according to a Murfreesboro Police Department report.
On Friday, a Rutherford County grand jury indicted Ronald Copeland Hicks, 66, of Mt. Vista Drive, Vonore. He was being transferred to the Rutherford County Detention Facility on charges of sexual battery by an authority figure, rape and sexual exploitation of a minor, on a $100,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in Rutherford County Circuit Court at 9 a.m. Dec. 17.
Hicks is the owner of Pop Korn’s Gourmet Popcorn, 415 S. Washington St., Maryville.
Murfreesboro Police said the charges were contained in a sealed indictment from the December session of the Rutherford County grand jury.
The charges stem from the alleged sexual abuse of the girl while she was with Hicks in Murfreesboro to watch a band.
According to the police report, Hicks took her to the Doubletree Hotel parking lot and gave her an alcoholic beverage. While in Hicks’ car, he allegedly forced himself on her and stuck his hand up the victim’s shirt and fondled her chest. He also allegedly put his hand down her pants and penetrated her private area.
The victim’s mother said Hicks approached them as an artist development personal manager for young, budding female musical artists. Hicks acted as her daughter’s manager during a nearly six-month span, the mother said, and the family had moved from Maryville to Greenback to be closer to Hicks’ home during that time.
It wasn’t until after the contract between Hicks and her daughter was dissolved and the family moved back to Maryville that her daughter told her parents about the abuse, she said.
A Rutherford County grand jury presented the evidence this month, where Hicks was indicted in the charges and arrested Friday. Prior to the Rutherford County grand jury’s indictment last week, the victim and her family had also pursued charges twice before in Monroe County.