By Joe Johnson
A Clarke County grand jury this week indicted an Athens man on assault charges for allegedly throwing rice and hot water on a woman during a domestic dispute at their home last month.
Lafayette Sheats Jr., 49, of Big Oak Circle was charged with aggravated assault, battery and third-degree cruelty to children, according to the indictment that was filed Tuesday in Clarke County Superior Court.
Athens-Clarke County police would not release an incident report of the alleged assault – even in redacted form -- on the grounds a juvenile was present.
According to the indictment, however, Sheats committed aggravated assault because he allegedly caused the victim to suffer “serious bodily injury” by throwing the rice and hot water on her.
He was charged with battery because he allegedly bruised the victim by striking her in the face, the indictment states.
Sheats was charged with child cruelty because “a child under the age of 18 was present to see and hear the act,” according to the indictment.
Court records indicate that he was arrested the day of the incident, on Aug. 11, and on Wednesday he posted a $11,200 surety bond.
According to court records, Sheats has a history of criminal convictions dating to 1993, for illegal drugs, domestic violence and other offenses.
He has served two prison sentences for drug, theft and fraud convictions according to the Georgia Department of Corrections.
He is scheduled to be arraigned Sept 23 for his most recent offenses.
Anyone who is in an abusive relationship can seek advice and services by calling Project Safe’s 24-hour hotline at (706) 543-3331, or by visiting http://www.project-safe.org.