Special Report: Two teens and the act that changed their lives forever

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Two friends walk for about 20 minutes, down a long path to the Ashville Bridge Creek. 

Two 9th graders, 15 years old, took a swim and then made their way to a nearby fallen tree where they had sex.

The boy agreed to talk to 10 On Your Side, and says it was consensual.

“We have been talking over the phone for a while before then … she told me she wanted to have sex … we met up with the purpose of having sex, and we did, and we hung out for a little while after that.”

Here’s the problem. He started talking to his buddies, which he admits he should not have done.

“If he had kept his mouth shut, then he would have had sex and that would have been it, but he told his buddies he had sex, that he won the contest, and here we go,” said the boy’s attorney, Sonny Stallings.

Police are called, he’s arrested, they go to court, and she testifies she was raped. These are some of the statements she made under oath and on the stand:

  • “He told me… I could leave … If I did something with him.”
  • “He knocked my legs out and forced me to the ground”
  • “I stood back up, and he came onto me, kissing me.” 
  • “And then he picked me up and carried me to a log.”
  • “I told him that I did not want to have sex with him and he said, ‘OK’ and that’s when he (raped) me.”

10 On Your Side asked him about her testimony, on what she said happened, “I couldn’t look at her when she was testifying. I stared at the judge the whole time because she was saying lie after lie, and I couldn’t stand to watch her say those things.”

We asked him, did she you to stop?  “Yes, she did tell me to stop … I respected that decision.  We got up and put our clothes on and left the area.”

Stallings challenged the girl in court, that she was a willing participant.

“She admits she carved an initial on a tree in the woods after the sex, which is hardly something a rape victim does,” Stallings said. 

“Tell me about grabbing her hair,” the detective said to him during the 3 hour 40 minute interrogation. 

He quickly responded, “I didn’t grab her hair.”

He would waive his Miranda rights, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in court,” the detective read.  He agreed to talk to detectives without his parents and his attorney.

After he was arrested at school, his mom called the detective, “And I said ‘do I need to be there for questions?’ They told me no. The police said no, and I said ‘I am on my way … I will be there in about 10 minutes.'”

Stallings called detectives too, “I called and told them to stop interrogating my client. I represent him, and they just refused that.”

The detectives never interviewed him before he was under arrest at his school, and it is clear they never believed him. The detective said to him, “It is time to stop lying to get out of trouble. It is time to accept consequences,” he said, and then told him, “I believe…(then stated the girl’s name).”

10 On Your Side asked him about that, “Detectives had a warrant for my arrest written up before they even talked to me, which I think they should have at least heard my side of the story before they made up their minds.”

All during the interrogation he never wavered that the sex was consensual. This exchange occurred near the end of the interrogation:

Him: “I feel like you’re trying to squeeze something out of me that didn’t happen … What we did was consensual.  What are we talking about here?”

Detective: “Well we’ve been talking about it for a while.”

Him: “Everything we did that was sexual was consensual.  Everything. She was OK with it.  Every move I made. Every step I took she said ‘it was OK.'”

Detective: “It does have some bumps in it. Where she says no.”

Detectives continue pressing him for a confession, “Like I said about evidence, you got bruises.  You can explain them away all you want because her story, it looks right, with the bruises.”

During one of the breaks during the interrogation when he is alone in the room you can hear him praying that detectives understand his side and he prays for her, “Please forgive me for having sex. God please help the detectives see the truth.  Please let the detectives know I did not rape her. I pray for (girl’s name) and her family.”

After waiting 3 and a half hours, his mother was finally allowed to see her son, and it was then detectives read the charges, including rape, they took out earlier in the day.

The charges include:

  • object sexual penetration
  • forcible sodomy
  • abduction 
  • rape 

However, at trial Judge Randall Blow found:

“There is no way to conclusively say whether the sex was consensual or not … There are a lot of inconsistencies in this case on both sides which concerns me … If she is so upset why would she stop and take time to carve her initials in a tree … I have no way of knowing who’s telling the truth, but I do know that I have a reasonable doubt about what happened and so for that reason I am going to dismiss the charges.”

10 On Your Side ask him how he felt when he heard the charges were dismissed, “The most relieving feeling I’ve ever had. Four felony charges on my back for months, and then dropped right there. It felt like I could breathe again.”

The parents of the girl would not do an interview, but sent the following statements:

“We are deeply troubled, as is our daughter, by the incident that resulted in the charges lodged against the young man and by the outcome of the trial that occurred in Virginia Beach. We continue to stand by our daughter’s account of what occurred.  At the same time, we want both of these youngsters to be able to move on with their lives and be productive adults, as difficult as it might be.  Sex between teenagers is fraught with peril, and both parties and their friends need to understand that it is not a game and indeed can have serious consequences. We would ask everyone who knows these children to give them space and and let them rebuild their lives.” 

“Our daughter has been devastated by this sexual assault and has learned a very powerful lesson about trusting people. Her attacker saw someone he wanted, got her alone and took it.  As is the case in most sexual assault cases, it is difficult to get a conviction without witnesses, but our daughter put herself through months of painful testimony in order to stand up for herself and the many other victims who aren’t in a position to fight back. 
The judge was clear when he gave his decision; his dismissal of the charges does NOT mean the sexual assault did not occur, nor does it mean the attacker was found ‘not guilty’.  Even considering the amount of physical evidence to the contrary, a conviction is difficult to prove in a ‘he said, she said’ case. We would encourage all young girls to report these assaults as there is help to get through this, regardless of whether they decide to put themselves through testifying as our daughter did. No person deserves to be violated in this way.”

As for Stallings, he faults Virginia Beach Police and the Commonwealth’s Attorney Office for pursuing the case, “Someone should have put the brakes on it, and told the parents involved this doesn’t look good. We shouldn’t go to trial for this because the evidence was overwhelming that this was consensual.”

Virginia Beach Police Spokesperson Tonya Pierce refused access to them and would only say, “This case was handled properly. None of it was mishandled by Virginia Beach Police.”

The Commonwealth’s Attorney sent this statement:

“This office is prohibited from commenting on cases involving juvenile defendants and victims; however, we believed strongly in the evidence in this case. Prosecutors have an ethical obligation to only bring to trial cases for which they believe there is sufficient evidence to support a conviction. While we respect the court’s ruling in this case, we disagree with it, and felt the evidence was sufficient for a conviction.” 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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