ELIZABETHTON, TN (WJHL) - Police in Elizabethton report a grand jury recently indicted a local business owner on multiple sex crimes involving a minor.
Police said the charges stemmed from an allegation that he had sexual contact with a minor employed at his business.
Gary Mac Hicks has been arrested on two counts of sexual battery by an authority figure, three counts of soliciting sexual exploitation of a minor, and two counts of tampering with evidence.
Hicks owned Sycamore Drive-In restaurant on Sycamore Street in Elizabethton.
People living near that business on Sycamore Street are stunned. after learning the well known business owner is facing several charges centered on allegations he made unlawful sexual contact with a minor.
"This blows my mind that it could be someone just right next door," Brooke Quillen said.
Brooke Quillen's home is literally next door to the drive-in restaurant. the mother of a young daughter, she says the news about Gary Hicks is concerning.
"It blows mind I have talked to him out and about and he has always seemed super nice so its crazy that it could be anybody that does stuff like that," Quillen said.
News Channel 11 stopped by Mr. Hicks' business on Tuesday. Employee's there said they had no comment.
"If I had known about that, i would have done something about it, I don't go in for that," Don English said.
According to court documents and police report News Channel 11 obtained Tuesday, the incident involving a minor took place in June of 2017 inside a storage shed behind Hicks' restaurant.
The police report explains that hicks and the minor, returned to the business from a shopping trip. Hicks led the minor into the shed and reportedly "molested the minor"
The report goes on to say the minor left to seek help at a nearby business and ultimately "disclosed the incident to parents"
Captain Shane darling with the Elizabethton Police Department says his office has been working this case for nearly a year. He encourages those with more information in this case or other similar incidents to call police.
"If anybody has any information about this incident or other similar incidents then we want to know that. we want you to come forward and let us know that there has been an incident in the past."
Gary Hicks is scheduled to appear in criminal court on May 21st at 9AM.
Investigators ask, "if you have any information about this case, or related incidents, please contact the Elizabethton Police Department Criminal Investigation Division at 423-547-6250."
The case is being prosecuted by the Sullivan County District Attorney's office due to a conflict-of-interest in the Washington-Carter County's District Attorney's Office.
News Channel 11 Staff contributed to this report.
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