A man charged with illegally detaining two teenage girls in a church parking lot says he has been wrongfully accused and he was only watching out for his church when the girls pulled into the parking lot at night, a parking lot he says had a no trespassing sign.
The man, Claude Eugene Foster, 81, will appear before General Sessions Judge Bill Locke this Tuesday on the charge of misdemeanor false imprisonment. He is accused of stopping two girls in the parking lot of Sunny Hills Baptist Church and asking what they were doing.
The warrant claims Foster flashed a star-type badge and said he was a former officer of the law, something Foster disputes, saying he told the girls he was a former security officer. One of the girls claims he tried to get her phone when she was calling her mother and that he tried to strike her vehicle with his fist as she drove away. Foster, through his attorney Jim Judkins, disputes the claim of how things happened that night.
“At the time she reached for her phone, I asked to use it,” Foster said of the incident involving the phone, noting he was almost struck when the teen drove off. “They turned around driving past me and brushed against my side, causing me to almost lose my balance. I have a limp and a cane. They headed back around West Green Hill Road.”
Foster said the incident began after Wednesday night church services. That evening a car alarm had sounded in the parking lot. While finding nothing at that point, Foster said he and another church member secured the lot before they left that night, locking the parking gates and putting up a no trespassing sign.
Foster said he drove down Robert Wilson Road and was bright-lighted by a vehicle that ran through the stop sign at Green Hill Road.
“It caused me to veer out of my lane,” Foster recalled. “I had to pull off in the grass to avoid hitting the car.”
Foster said he looked in his rearview mirror moments later to see the same car pulled up next to the church.
“We have no trespassing signs after hours at the church and gates to keep people out,” Foster said. “The headlights were off and the passenger’s door was open. Since it was nighttime, the over-head dome lights were on and I could see both girls laughing and talking.”
Foster said he turned around and parked his vehicle about 20 feet from the teens. He approached them and asked why they had not turned down their high beams when meeting him on the road, pointing out he almost crashed.
“They were laughing and I immediately thought they were under the influence of drugs,” Foster said, noting they claimed they were waiting on someone. “I thought it could be a drug deal. I asked for ID and they both replied they didn’t bring their purses. I walked to my car to find my phone but couldn’t. I took my security guard ID, since I am a retired security guard who still maintains an active license, and went back to try to convince them to leave. I started back to my car to get some paper so I could write down their license number.”
Foster said at that point the incident involving the teen’s phone and their leaving the parking lot happened.
The fact Foster has been charged due to the incident is surprising to him.
“I have been wrongfully charged,” he said.