Sexual assault suspect Claude Finch faces recent charges

Claude Finch III
(Photo courtesy of source)
Claude Finch III (Photo courtesy of source)

Twenty-five year-old Claude Finch III, who was charged with sexual assault in 2021 after multiple incidents on Southern Adventist University’s campus, was arrested and charged with solicitation of a minor and aggravated sexual battery on Jan. 25, according to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office online booking report.

News Channel 9 reported that the arrest came after Finch was caught allegedly sexually soliciting a 10-year old at Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park on Gunbarrel Road, where he was employed as the park’s safety manager. The article said Morgan Young, Urban Air’s general manager, had confirmed reports that Finch led the victim to an area out of surveillance view and attempted to bribe the minor with $60 worth of arcade cards to grope the victim’s buttocks. 

According to News Channels 9, Young said Urban Air ran a background check on Finch before hiring him, but nothing was flagged. News Channel 9 subsequently ran a background check, and all of Finch’s charges showed up. 

As reported in a previous Accent article, Finch was arrested and charged with evading arrest, reckless endangerment, sexual battery and stalking in November and December of 2021 due to incidents involving two Southern female students.

According to the deputy clerk with the Hamilton County Criminal Courts Clerk’s office, Finch is currently out on a $35,000 and $50,000 bond and has a case in General Sessions Court related to the recent arrest. His first arraignment is set for April 6, she said.  

Finch was jailed at the Silverdale Detention Center. All incidents involving Finch are being investigated by the Chattanooga Police Department, according to J. Matt Lea, public relations manager for Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.  

According to Collegedale Police Department Assistant Chief of Police Jamie Heath, Finch’s cases left Collegedale and went through the grand jury. 

“All of his cases, past and present, are now in Hamilton County Criminal Court. Other than his bans from SAU campus, if there are any other restrictions on Mr. Finch, they would be through the county court system, not ours,” Heath said.

Assistant Chief of Police for the Chattanooga Police Department, Jerri Sutton, shared tips on how the public can avoid unwanted encounters. 

“As you know, there’s a sex offender registry,” Sutton said. “Those who are concerned about sex offenders can consult the registry to know who to avoid. At the very least, any person should get to know the people they interact with on a regular basis or anyone they engage with for whom they may have concerns.” 

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