Judge rejects plea from ex-Portsmouth officer accused of raping teen, citing graphic details from prosecution


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A Portsmouth judge has rejected a plea from former Portsmouth police officer Cleshaun Cox, who’s accused of raping and abducting a teenager in 2019.

Cox had attempted to plead guilty to charges of carnal knowledge and abduction, and plead not guilty to rape and not guilty to abduction with the intent to defile.

The judge said graphic details shared by the prosecution upset him so much he decided to reject the plea agreement.

In a preliminary hearing in 2020, victim, who was 17 at the time of the alleged rape, told the judge “I couldn’t even tell if I was even going to come out of the situation alive.”

Cox worked with the Portsmouth Police Department for more than a year before he was arrested. He also worked as a corrections officer at St. Brides Correctional Center from May 2016 until February 2018.

Documents filed in Portsmouth Circuit Court showed that he told police that “nothing was forced and everything was consensual,” in response to the allegations.

Court records show the teenager said that Cox followed her to her home and eventually got an adult passenger who was in the car with the teen to leave. The alleged rape happened after Cox drove her to a location near a warehouse, court records show.

The victim reported the rape to a family member afterward, court records show.

“I was just feeling like these were my final moments,” the teen testified.

The case will next go before the chief judge. Attorneys on both sides can take the same plea to the chief judge, or they can come up with a different plea with different terms, and the chief judge will decide whether or not to accept it. If rejected, the case could go to trial.

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