The arrest of a Westmoreland woman on a sexual battery charge against her daughter on Nov. 19 also showed that the woman had apparently falsified information in order to gain notary public status in Macon County.
Tabitha Lamantia, 29, of 291 Siloam Church Road, Westmoreland, was charged with sexual battery after her daughter participated in a video interview at the Child Advocacy Center in Lebanon and stated that her mother had rubbed on her private parts between her legs through her pants at the outset of the incident.
According to Det. William Tuck’s report for the Macon County Sheriff’s Department, the child went on to say that her mother took her own clothes off and then removed the child’s clothing and proceeded to spank the child while both were naked.
Lamantia was arrested and transported to the Macon County Jail where her bond was set at $5,000.
Lamantia is scheduled to appear in Macon County General Sessions Court on Jan. 5 to answer to this charge.
The Macon County Commission had approved Lamantia’s request to become a notary public in January of this year, after she filled out the necessary paperwork and paid the proper fees to become a notary, which was then sent to the state and approved. However, it appears that Lamantia obtained the notary under false presences, as County Court Clerk Connie Blackwell explained.
“That was brought to our attention that evidently she had some charges against her. On the notary application, the very first thing it asks you if you have any crimes or felonies on your record and things like that. They answer those questions. You’re supposed to answer no on all those (in order to become a notary), and she answered no. She claims she wasn’t aware of that, but she was. The district attorney called and said it was going to be brought up in court in December,” Blackwell said.
A notary public is “an official of integrity appointed by state government — typically the Secretary of State — to serve the public as an impartial witness in performing a variety of official fraud-deterrent acts related to the signing of important documents,” according to the website NationalNotary.org.
Lamantia has agreed to give up her notary after having been caught obtaining the ability with a falsified application against the current charge she faces.
“She came in and wanted to be a notary, and we took her $12 and she filled out the application,” Blackwell said. “We found out later she had signed it in error and that she had answered it falsely.”
Blackwell explained how the notary process works and that it is not the clerk’s office’s responsibility to weed out those who might not be eligible.
“It’s a simple application that has to be filled out. It’s a questionaire. You answer those questions, and your signature gets notarized. Either you take your form, and they notarize your signature and you bring it in, or we can notarize your signature,” she said. “When you do that, we have to see your driver’s license to prove who you are. When we notarize it, we are only swearing that we saw that person sign the document. If they answer it falsely, we’re goodwill clerks. We have to take them at their word. We can’t tell them that they’re fibbing. Even if we think they’re fibbing, we can’t tell them that.”
An application then goes to the County Commission for the nomination process and once that is approved, the application is sent to Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s office where the notary licenses are issued. A notary bond for $10,000 is required, something that costs around $50 to obtain and must be signed off on by the county clerk’s office.
Lamantia, who was previously known as Tabitha Scruggs and Tabitha David, has a lengthy list of criminal charges that have been filed against her over the years, with several of those leading to guilty pleas or being bound over to the grand jury. Most of those charges have been in Sumner County, though some have been in Macon and Rutherford counties, according to the online records system.
Lamantia entered a guilty plea to assault in November 2019 in Rutherford County.
She also entered guilty pleas to theft and shoplifting charges from Sumner County in 2017. She also had a charge of driving on a revoked license from that year.
Lamantia, then known as Tabitha Scruggs, was bound over and entered a guilty plea from a 2015 charge of theft of property, contributing to the delinquency of a child and a probation violation. In 2017, she also pled guilty to a charge of assault with bodily injury from 2015.
She was also charged with making false reports in Macon County back in 2013.