Charges grow for Troy man in child sexual harassment cases

Tripp Dennis Freeman (Source: Troy Police Department)
Tripp Dennis Freeman (Source: Troy Police Department)
Cole LeBrant, 13, and his parents sat down to talk with WSFA 12 News about the ordeal they've been through.
Cole LeBrant, 13, and his parents sat down to talk with WSFA 12 News about the ordeal they've been through.

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

TROY, AL (WSFA) - The investigation into a Troy man police believe sexually harassed children all over town is getting bigger by the day. Police arrested Tripp Dennis Freeman on six sex crime charges going back to 2007 on May 11th.

Police charged him with four counts of sexual harassment, one count of sodomy, and one count of enticing a child. Then, they charged him with three additional counts of harassment related to incidents at the Pike County Jail. Bond has now risen to $202,000.

Authorities say he might never have been charged had it not been for a young boy and his family who wanted to go public with their allegations.

"I just felt way too uncomfortable with the situation. There was no way that I wouldn't be able to keep that in and be perfectly fine," says Cole LeBrant. LeBrant is 13-years-old, but he's already dealing with a traumatic experience.

"It was just too much for a 20-year old to ask a 13-year old," he says.

The LeBrant family claims a man they knew well, 20-year old Tripp Dennis Freeman, came up to Cole at a Relay For Life event at the Troy Sportsplex recently and claim the man whispered sexually explicit questions into Cole's ear about his private parts.

"I was very very angry that that line with my 13-year-old son had been crossed, and the things that were said were so graphic in nature," says LeBrant's father, Ken. He says he was always suspicious of Freeman. In fact, had asked him years ago to stay away from his kids.

"You hang around these young kids...find somebody your own age. It's inappropriate and I don't think it's right," Mr. LeBrant said.

"I never would have thought anything just this big," added the young boy's mother, Sheri LeBrant.

Cole told his parents what happened. "Cole came home that night. He looked distraught in his face," the father said. That's when the family went straight to police.

Troy police then charged Freeman with sexual harassment, but the family says Cole's confession prompted other kids to come forward with similar stories about Freeman.

"It breaks my heart that so many children and so many families have been affected by this," says Sheri.

Talking about the ordeal is helping Cole feel better. It's about getting his story out in the open.

"It seems like now that I've found out all these other stories, that I know that I did the right thing and all the other kids that came forward."

Ken says he spoke to Freeman and says the man apologized.

For now, Troy police say even more charges could be pending as more victims come forward. Freeman is currently in the Pike County jail.

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