by: Ken Lemon Updated:
GASTON COUNTY, N.C. - A Gaston County commissioner has bonded out of jail after turning himself in on charges including assault on a female and sexual battery.
Commissioner Don Grant has denied the charges and said the accuser was a customer at his extermination business.
Grant told Channel 9’s partners at The Gazette that he went to her home to check out a complaint about bed bugs.
He didn't find any, but claimed he checked her arms and back for bites.
Officers took out warrants against Grant last Friday.
Grant faces misdemeanor charges. He will make his first court appearance next month.
He said he is prepared to fight the claims in court, while some in the community question whether he should still be on the county board.
"Well, it was disbelief,” said County Commission Vice Chairman Bob Hovis, who saw Channel 9’s report on the charges Friday night.
Grant, a newly elected commissioner who just took his official picture about six months ago, turned himself in Sunday night.
One voter said that as an elected public official, Grant has to be held to a higher standard.
She said it is hard to imagine him serving on the board while facing the allegations.
Hovis got to know Grant before Grant became a member of the board.
"Polished, very fine,” Hovis said. “He greeted everybody with respect."
Kay Bridges, Grant’s neighbor, was also stunned.
"Good Christian man, and I would be surprised if these charges hold,” she said.
Travis Page, Grant’s attorney, said he has received a huge outpouring of support from people who know him and his business.
Page called the allegations inflammatory and said, "We are prepared to defend his name and reputation in court."
Fellow Republican Lloyd Kelso said Grant can't stay on the board.
"This could be a cloud hanging over the commission,” Kelso said. "I will be asking that he would step aside."
Chairman Chad Brown said commissioners can only be forced to step down if they are charged with a felony.
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