Columbus business owner given no bond, makes court appearance Wednesday

Columbus business owner given no bond, makes court appearance Wednesday

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – A Columbus businessman and restaurant general manager is now in jail, accused of sexually assaulting a college student.

Larry Kirkland, 50, is accused of raping a Columbus State University student on May 28. He remains in the Muscogee County Jail and has not been given any bond. He will appear in recorder's court at 8 a.m.

The victim reported the incident to CSU police over the weekend after she admitted herself to Midtown Medical Center.

Kirkland is the general manager of Uptown Tap and the owner of Picasso Pizza, where the victim worked.

She told investigators she and Kirkland had drinks after closing the restaurant the night she was assaulted.

"From what we were able to determine Mr. Kirkland was the one who escorted the victim back to the CSU dorm downtown and we were able to confirm that through video surveillance cameras," explains CSU Police Chief Rus Drew.

Kirkland was taken into custody Monday morning at his business without incident.

Now as the investigation continues as several local and state agencies are trying to link similar assaults that have occurred in the downtown area to Kirkland.

Drew says they are also investigating whether Kirkland had any connection to Stephen Howard, the Auburn University employee arrested last week on suspicion of selling large quantities of date rape drugs.

"We will continue to be looking at that as times goes on," says Drew.

Authorities are asking the community to stay vigilant.

They want to remind people pressuring or coercing someone into engaging in sexual activity is sexual assault and the absence of "no" does not mean "yes."

"It's just another reminder that you got to stay safe, be aware of your surroundings and be aware of the people that you are with. Be sensitive to that all the time," explains Drew.

University counselors and staff are working with the student.

Anyone with information pertaining to this crime can contact the CSU Police at (706)-507-8911.

Copyright 2015 WTVM. All rights reserved.