A well-known local businessman will appear before Henry County Superior Court Judge Brian Amero on Tuesday, to answer multiple charges of sexual misconduct involving a minor.
William Leonard Abbate, 45, is charged with five counts of child molestation, nine counts of aggravated child molestation, three counts of aggravated sexual battery, three counts of statutory rape, three counts of enticing a child for indecent purposes, and sexual exploitation of children.
Henry County District Attorney Tommy Floyd is overseeing the prosecution of Abbate. Floyd did not comment on the charges, or the strength of the state’s case.
“It’s improper for me to comment at this point,” said Floyd. “He’ll either plead guilty, or we’ll proceed to trial in due course.”
Abbate’s attorney, Steve Lister, could not be reached for comment, Friday.
Abbate is accused of immoral and indecent acts with a child under 16 years of age. The alleged child molestation offenses reportedly took place in 2010 and 2011, at his McDonough home, and at his farm in Butts County. Other incidents are believed to have taken place in other states, according to Henry County Police Maj. Jason Bolton.
Abbate, in October, was in a courtroom in Prince William County, Va., for an arraignment on sexual misconduct charges involving the same victim. He received a $200,000 bond there, according to Henry County police.
Abbate is a professional shooter, who acted as a coach to the alleged victim, and traveled with her and her shooting team to various states, offering instruction, Bolton said.
Abbate turned himself in to the Henry County Jail, Aug. 18. He was released from the jail, Oct. 27, on $100,000 bond, and was indicted by a grand jury in October.
Last year, Abbate was a managing member of Big 5 Enterprises LLC, when he acquired six hangars at the former Tara Field airport, which is now known as the Atlanta South Regional Airport. Prior to his arrest, Abbate said he wanted to transform hangars into a money-making movie studio in the Southern Crescent area.
— Staff writer Elaine Rackley contributed to this article.