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Post Mettenberger accepts plea agreement in Valdosta case

Monday May 3, 2010

As most suspected when Mark Richt dismissed Zach Mettenberger last month, there was more to the story than Richt overreacting to yet another alcohol-related incident. At the time of the arrest, the initial five misdemeanor charges read like a checklist for your run-of-the-mill fighting drunk: underage possession of alcohol, disorderly conduct, obstruction and two counts of possession of false identification.

Mettenberger reached a plea agreement today, but that agreement was for none of the charges listed above. Instead, Mettenberger pled to “two counts of misdemeanor sexual battery” according to Marc Weiszer of the Banner-Herald. (The AJC has more details about the nature of the “battery” if you really care to know.) All other charges related to the incident were dropped, and Mettenberger will face 12 months of probation, fines, and banishment from alcohol, bars, and the city of Valdosta.

The plea was a smart move by Mettenberger – it essentially ends the story and avoids the ugliness of a trial with potentially more severe charges. If these charges are any indication of the direction in which things were heading, a trial wouldn’t have been pleasant for Mettenberger or – more importantly – the victim.

To Mettenberger’s credit, the apology printed by Weiszer is about as up-front and unambiguous as it gets, and we hope Mettenberger earns the opportunity to rebuild his character wherever he ends up.

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