After more than two years of postponements, attorneys will go before a judge next week in the case of Frank Huggins, a 74-year-old former Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office spokesman who has been accused of sexual assault and battery against a 16-year-old female.
According to Forsyth County Superior Court records, Huggins’s bench trial before Chief Superior Court Judge Jeffrey S. Bagley is set to begin at 9 a.m. on Monday, March 4 and is expected to run through Wednesday, March 6.
Huggins was arrested by the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office on Oct. 4, 2016 after he allegedly touched a teen’s “inner thigh” multiple times in 2016 while serving as her driving instructor.
At the time of Huggins arrest, sheriff’s office spokesman Epifanio Rodriguez told the Forsyth County News that “detectives confirmed the victim’s allegations using video and audio evidence from camera footage recovered from inside the vehicle.”
A grand jury later chose to indict Huggins on one felony count of sexual assault and one misdemeanor count of sexual battery. After the indictment, Huggins’s attorney Rafe Banks III told the FCN that nothing “improper” occurred.
The case has since been set to go to trial and then postponed several times at the request of both attorneys.
In late 2018, Huggins was sued in district court by the family of his alleged victim for violating her rights to bodily privacy by “repeatedly touching her legs, arms, neck and shoulders.” The lawsuit was later dismissed without prejudice by the plaintiff.
For this trial, records show that parties have elected to try the case as a bench trial, rather than a jury trial. According to Cornell Law School’s legal encyclopedia, this means that Bagley will act as both judge and jury, rendering his verdict based on the evidence presented before him.
This case will be prosecuted by Chief Assistant District Attorney Sandra Ann Partridge.
Huggins served as spokesman and part of the command staff for former Forsyth County Sheriff Ted Paxton from 2001-10, before retiring in 2010 as a captain.