OXFORD – Attorney Thomas Freeland IV says he’ll appeal his misdemeanor conviction that he assaulted a woman after drinks on the Square last March 25.
Municipal Judge Larry Little ordered Freeland to pay about $400 in fines and do 30 hours of community service after ruling that the 30-year lawyer attacked Susan White at her Oxford home.
After hours of testimony, photos of bruised body parts and arguments over points of law, Little said it was the text messages that sealed Freeland’s fate.
On the stand, White read from cell phone text messages her phone logged from Freeland:
• No. 384 – “I loved your sweet kisses.”
• No. 386 – “I felt very privileged to see so much of you.”
• No. 387 – “And I don’t know why I’m sitting here so close to you but so far off.”
Those messages were logged shortly after White said Freeland grabbed her, pulled her hair, kissed her and tore her blouse after he followed her home from a social evening with his wife, Joyce.
Freeland denied anything of the sort when he testified late in the hearing.
However, he admitted that while he was at her home they kissed a few times. He had been instructed by his wife to ensure White got home safely.
“This is something I’m embarrassed about, regretful about,” Freeland testified, “but not something I did that was anything illegal.”
Little thought otherwise, lamenting that he must decide the case after years of friendship with the Freelands.
“I don’t think she would put herself through this without some validity to what she’s saying.” Little said from the bench.
On appeal In circuit court, the municipal court verdict will mean nothing – the court will view the case anew.
Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal