The 69-year-old owner of a Fairfax City driving school was arrested on sexual battery charges in connection with the alleged assault of a 16-year-old driving student, city police said yesterday.
Charles D. Thrailkill, who operates Burke Centre Driving School out of his home on Mosby Woods Drive, was released from the Fairfax jail on Oct. 15 on $2,000 bond. He had been charged with two counts of sexual battery.
Under Virginia law, sexual battery involves touching intimate parts of the body. Sexual battery is a misdemeanor punishable by one year in jail, a $2,500 fine or both.
Police said they also are investigating several other complaints that Thrailkill had sexually assaulted students, but have not charged him in those cases.
"Several other students have come forward with similar allegations against Thrailkill," said Sarah Bachmann, Fairfax City police public information officer.
Thrailkill disputed the allegations yesterday, saying that all he had done was grab the bottom of a steering wheel from a student to keep control of the car.
"I've not assaulted any of these kids. After all, I'm 70 years old," Thrailkill said.
According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, which regulates the state's approximately 100 privately run driving schools, Burke Centre has been licensed since 1979. Thrailkill said he has taught several thousand students.
No complaints have been filed against the Burke Centre Driving School, said Jeanne Chenault, a spokeswoman for the Virginia DMV, which took over the task of regulating driving schools from the Virginia Department of Commerce in July.
Thrailkill said he had planned to retire in December, but has gone out of business since the arrest.
A hearing on the case has been scheduled for Nov. 15 at Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.