Man arrested for sexual battery days after his arrest at UT-Knoxville

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Knoxville Police arrested and charged a man with sexual battery on Friday, two days after his arrest on the University of Tennessee-Knoxville campus.

Paul Hollins, 32, was charged with one count of sexual battery in relation to an incident on Aug. 19 at the Target on Ray Mears Boulevard.

A woman reported that she was approached inside of the Target by Hollins, who told her that he was a YouTuber making a video called “Cash or Grab.” Hollins then instructed the victim that he would ask a series of questions for a cash prize.

The victim told investigators when she did not answer any questions correctly, Hollins asked her to lean down for a hug, at which point he groped her from behind without consent.

Hollins was arrested Wednesday near UT Gardens for criminal trespassing and attempting to grope other women. On Thursday, UT Police Department Cpl. Kelley Kain said they received more reports of the same experience that helped them in the investigation.

Additional charges against Hollins are pending. His next court appearance will be Sept. 10 for a preliminary hearing.

Hollins is suspected of committing the same offense on numerous woman in Knoxville, including on the University of Tennessee-Knoxville campus.

The Knoxville Police Department is requesting any other possible victims of the suspect to contact Investigator Brandon Wardlaw at 865-215-7017, even if they previously reported it to the University of Tennessee campus police.

Sharing her story with WATE 6 On Your Side, one woman is speaking out after an encounter with Hollins, she believes, could have ended differently if UTPD did not arrive to arrest Hollins on Thursday.

The woman, who asked not to be identified for fears of being a target if Hollins is released from custody, said she was present when UTPD officers took Hollins into custody Thursday for trespassing.

“He was, really close to me, he put his arm behind me and that’s when I turned around. By that time, the cops, they were here, they were watching,” the woman said.

Tonight on WATE 6 On Your Side, a candid conversation about her experience and what she wants others to know — the full story at 4.

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