News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Joey Leaphart (WRDW-TV)
AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW) -- It's a pretty strange obsession. The average person may even call it taboo, but a Langley, S.C., man just can't get enough of women's feet.
Joey Leaphart, 44, has been arrested, once again, for a foot-related incident. He is charged with assault after deputies say he rubbed a woman's leg in a checkout line at the Wal-Mart on Richland Avenue in Aiken.
"She was reaching into her cart to unload her groceries at the checkout counter. While she was doing that, she was raised on her toes and he brushed against her leg and then put his gum on the bottom of her foot," said Lt. Karl Odenthal with Aiken Public Safety.
Investigators say the victim recognized Leaphart's face from the news and asked him to back away, but he continued to ask her if he could pull the gum from under her foot.
But this isn't the first time Leaphart has been accused of something like this.
"This individual has done similar incidents several times in different areas, over in Augusta, here in Aiken," Odenthal said.
About a year ago, Jessica Finley had a run-in with Leaphart at the Wal-Mart in Grovetown. He tricked her into letting him take a picture of her foot. He said he was with "America's Funniest Home Videos" and her groceries would be free if she did it.
She says he asked, "Can I kiss your foot? So I agreed to it, and then he grabbed my foot and put it in his mouth."
That's when she says she screamed and he ran off, but before he left, she says, "He said, 'Oh, but it tasted so good!'"
Police couldn't arrest Leaphart then because Finley gave her consent, but now, he's being charged with assault for his latest attack.
News 12 stopped by his registered address to find out more about Leaphart, but his grandmother says he just comes and goes as he pleases.
News 12 asked her about his strange habits, and she said, "I don't know nothing about him when he's here. I usually stay in my room."
Leaphart is a registered sex offender in Aiken County after serving five years in prison for licking an 11-year-old's toes. He was charged with lewd acts to a minor. He also pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in 2012 after repeatedly asking women for money in a North Augusta shopping center.
Leaphart bonded out of the Aiken County Jail Tuesday. Along with the assault charge, he is also facing a trespassing charge since he was warned after a similar incident not to trespass at the Wal-Mart on Richland Avenue.