Businessman indicted on sexual misconduct charges

Billy Abbate

Billy Abbate

A prominent Henry County businessman, William Leonard Abbate, was indicted this week on 24 sexual misconduct charges involving a minor.

After a Henry County grand jury appearance, Thursday, by Henry County Police Crimes Against Children Detective Heather Hopkins, Abbate was indicted on 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.

On Tuesday, the 45-year-old businessman 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, according to Henry County Police Sgt. Mike Ireland. “He is expected to return to Georgia where he still faces a $100,000 bond,” said Ireland.

Last year, Abbate was a managing member of Big 5 Enterprises LLC, when he acquired six hangars at Tara Field, and said he wanted to transform them into a money-making movie studio in the Southern Crescent area.

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.

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, according to Henry County Police Maj. Jason Bolton.

Most of the incidents are alleged to have occurred at Abbate’s McDonough home, and at his farm property in Butts County. Other incidents are believed to have taken place in other states, across the country, over the last year, according to Bolton.