Ex-Portsmouth police officer charged with rape of teen pleads guilty to lesser charges


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A former Portsmouth police officer accused of raping a teenager pleaded guilty to lesser charges on Thursday.

Cleshaun Cox, who was with Portsmouth police for over a year when he was arrested in 2019, pleaded guilty to a charge of carnal knowledge and abduction after his charge of rape was amended in court.

Back in July, he faced multiple charges.

Another judge had previously rejected Cox’s plea last month, citing graphic details shared by the prosecution.

The victim, who was 17 at the time of the alleged rape, testified in 2020: “I couldn’t even tell if I was even going to come out of the situation alive. Seriously. I was just thinking in my head the whole time that this is like the movies. Like, this is how the girls die.”

The rape charge was amended in court today and the Commonwealth Attorney said she will not proceed with the abduction with intent to defile charge.

In a statement to 10 On Your Side, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Shea Coleman said: “The Commonwealth is committed to achieving justice for the victim in this matter and has an interest in assisting her in gaining control of her life as a survivor. Mr. Cox’s plea of guilty and acceptance of accountability moved that process one step further today.”

The judge will now decide whether or not to accept his plea during a sentencing hearing in October.

Cox entered a plea for a nine-year sentence out of a maximum 15 years.

He will be back in court for a sentencing hearing on Oct. 7 at 9 a.m.

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