Habersham County Commission Candidate Facing Misdemeanor Sexual Battery Charge

A Habersham County Commission candidate, Benny Pate, is facing a misdemeanor sexual battery charge.

Pate, 63, was involved in an incident with a minor on March 29. The incident took place at The Orchard subdivision, says Sheriff’s Lt. Matt Wurtz.

The 16-year-old minor involved was accompanied by others at The Orchard, according to Terrell. “I believe it was three of them. They were invited to come in to go fishing.”

Sheriff Terrell goes on to say that after they received the call of the accusation, they conducted interviews with the 16-year-old, who happens to live in another county. The charges were held off until after the interviews Terrell notes. “We wanted to make sure we got it right.” 

“She’s a minor, but she’s 16-years of age. That’s the cutoff for child molestation,” Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell says. “It was something we didn’t take lightly.”

“Sexual Battery which is defined by Georgia Law as when he or she intentionally makes physical contact with the intimate parts of another without the consent of that person,” Wurtz says.

Pate currently serves on the Habersham County Planning Commission and the Habersham County Airport Commission. He is running for the Habersham County Commission District 1 seat. 

Pate has since bonded out and is awaiting his court date.