Good Samaritan Comes To Defense Of Tulsa Woman Groped At PBR

Tuesday, September 16th 2014, 7:52 pm
By: News On 6

A Tulsa woman is grateful for the stranger who came to her defense after she was groped at a downtown rodeo. The incident was caught on tape.

Melissa Smith was working a booth at the BOK Center when she said a man slapped and grabbed her backside, twice. She said she was so stunned, all she could do was yell at him; but a Good Samaritan did much more than that.

Smith was working the PBR event and Shane Vernon was attending. Vernon was headed to the restroom when he saw a man smack and grab Smith's behind, the he saw the woman smack the man's hand away.

He couldn't hear them and didn't know their relationship, so he just kept watching, then saw the man do it again.

"That's when he reaches down and he grabs her butt and gropes it," Vernon said.

He said he again saw the woman smack the man's hand away and then shake her finger in his face before storming off.

Vernon asked Smith if she was okay and if she knew the man who'd touched her and she said no.

"When you've never experienced stuff like that, it totally takes you by surprise,” Smith said.

Vernon said he could only envision someone doing that to his wife or daughter, so he took off after the guy and confronted him.

"I was screaming in his face, ‘I don't appreciate what you were doing,' basically telling him, you don't know that young lady, grabbing her butt. People were looking at me like I was nuts,” he said.

When the guy denied it, Vernon got even madder.

"I grabbed his cigars and threw them into the arena, and I was still amped up so I grabbed his cowboy hat and threw that into the arena,” Shane said.

Tulsa Police Detective Matt Arnold said, "They had to stop the whole rodeo at that point and security was called."

After they heard Vernon's story, then Smith's, security looked for the man, but he'd already left.

Smith and her husband are grateful Vernon stepped up on her behalf.

"This guy doesn't know me at all, so it was amazing to see how somebody else could stand up for someone who could see it was wrong,” she said.

Police said it's not just wrong, it's illegal.

"It's not okay for someone to touch you on your butt, or anywhere else, it's assault. It's a crime and you need to report that,” Arnold said.

Police said the suspect came for a voluntary interview and did admit he grabbed Smith, but chalked it up to being drunk. They said he also wrote a letter of apology her.

The District Attorney will decide whether to file charges. It could be misdemeanor assault and battery or felony sexual battery.