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Judge, jury agree on sentence in child sex crimes case

A jury in Roanoke Circuit Court recommended late last year that a 53-year-old man be sentenced to six years in state prison after being convicted of aggravated sexual battery against a child. The judge told the defendant that the verdict with which the jury came back was appropriate and he upheld the jury's sentencing recommendation.

In 2014, the man was indicted on three sex crimes charges, all of which involved a 5-year-old child. The jury found the man not guilty of animate object sexual penetration. The sodomy charge was thrown out by the judge. The aggravated sexual battery charge, though, had sentencing guidelines from two years to six years, three months.

In February 2012, the 7-year-old sister of the victim went to her mother because her 5-year-old sister told her that the man touched her underneath her clothing. An examination by police found semen in the girl's buttocks region. A specialist in forensics testified at trial that it was likely the semen had come from the defendant based on DNA testing.

The defendant testified at trial, saying that he had sex with his girlfriend on a couch. He said the 5-year-old sat down between him and girlfriend after they had finished having sex. The defense attorney argued that was where the child might have had contact with his client's semen. The prosecution, however, said that the defendant hadn't said anything about having sex to investigators until after he learned that there was DNA evidence.

The defense plans to appeal the verdict and the sentence in the case.

When someone is charged with a sex crime, it can wreak havoc on his or her reputation. The media often portrays him or her as guilty before the trial even begins. This can seriously affect a defendant's job and family relationships. Presenting a strong defense is the most important thing you and your attorney can do in fighting the charges.

Source: roanoke.com, "Roanoke judge upholds jury verdict, gives man 6 years for sexually assaulting child," Neil Harvey, Feb. 25, 2016

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