Man Arrested for Hugging Store Clerk
Heather MacWilliams
WTVQ
Feb 10, 16:20 PM EST

What's the harm in a hug? Well it meant going to jail for one Corbin man, and even being accused of sexual abuse.

22-year-old Heather Cornett was going about her work inside the children's store Tadpoles and Lilies when 45-year-old Ricky Allen Baker walked in.

"He came in and automatically squats down at my desk and then saying he's going to keep me company because my job is boring. Next thing I know he's wanting a hug from me," says Cornett.

But Cornett was skeptical.

"During this time he has his hands in his pocket and kept them in his pocket even when he squatted down and looked like he had something tucked in his jacket....I'm thinking he's here to kill me or something."

Under pressure, Cornett decided whatever happened she wanted it in plain view of the store's security cameras.

"I wanted to make sure if he did kill me or stab me it was caught on camera," the 22-year-old admits.

Besides, it wasn't the first time the clerk had an uncomfortable encounter with the older man.

"He walked by me and turned around and started yelling at me because I didn't say 'hi' to him."

Still Cornett never thought he'd return, let alone want physical contact.

"I did not consent to him actually hugging me but I did hug him because I thought if I didn't it would give him a reason to do something."

Luckily Baker left after the embrace, and Cornett called police. A good move, according to the arresting officer.

"They say this is how sexual offenses start out... they start out with small things and if they don't get caught doing these small things, then they'll continue and progress until they're bigger ....Possibly rape."

Baker was given a 30-day probated sentence and is forbidden to have any contact with the victim or to enter the store.

Tadpoles and Lilies has since beefed up security.