May 18, 2022

Charlie Doodle

Unique Art & Entertainment

Chattanooga artist indicted on sexual battery charge

3 min read

The Hamilton County Criminal Court grand jury on Wednesday indicted Chattanooga-based artist Cessna Sharp Decosimo on charges of sexual battery and indecent exposure.

Sexual Battery in Tennessee is a Class E felony and, if the accused is found guilty, it carries a sentence of up to six years in prison and up to $3,000 in fines; indecent exposure charge is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and $500 in fines.

The indictment comes two years after Decosimo allegedly exposed himself in two separate incidents.

Decosimo’s attorney, Lee Davis, said he could not provide details about the case, but said in a telephone interview that Decosimo’s family was “cooperating with the investigation.”

Davis added he would release a statement closer to Decosimo’s Aug. 19 arraignment date.

According to a police affidavit, on July 2 , 2020, a woman accused Decosimo of assaulting her when she went to his studio to model for a sculpture.

“While Decosimo showed [her] around the studio, he was touching and fondling her breasts, hips and buttocks,” an affidavit said, adding he was “advising her it was for artistic purposes.”

The affidavit further stated “Decosimo advised [the victim] that he could use force if he wanted to” as he pulled her towards him while they were both in his bedroom.

After the victim was able to break away from him, Decosimo called out to her as she was leaving the studio, the affidavit said. The woman then agreed to let Decosimo see her body after he claimed it was for artistic purposes.

“Still hopeful that Decosimo would sculpt her, [she] agreed as long as Decosimo stood far enough back to make her feel comfortable,” the affidavit said. “As [she] removed her shirt, Decosimo began masturbating.”

The victim then left Decosimo’s studio as he “screamed obscenities and displayed his middle finger” at her, the affidavit said.

The affidavit said the victim had a bruise on her arm that was still visible six days after the incident.

The indecent exposure indictment stems from an incident that occured on May 17, 2020, when Decosimo arrived at a friend’s apartment on the 1400 block of Cowart Street in Chattanooga. As his friend opened the door to greet him, Decosimo exposed himself to the friend and another person, according to a report filed with the Chattanooga Police Department. The report was not filed until July 3, 2020.

“Cessna Sharp Decosimo … did unlawfully and intentionally expose his genitals or buttocks to one or more persons,” the indictment said. “… such act would offend an ordinary viewing person.”

Decosimo began masturbating in full view of two people, the complaint said. They told him to stop and leave but he did not immediately leave.

Decosimo has lived in Chattanooga since 1998, according to The Scout Guide Chattanooga’s Facebook page. He was commissioned to create several monuments around the city including a law enforcement memorial, a William Jennings Bryan sculpture and a sculpture for the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum.

Contact La Shawn Pagán at [email protected] or 423-757-6476. Follow her on Twitter @LaShawnPagan

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