Albemarle County Supervisor Chris Dumler is speaking out, saying he's sorry to the victim of his sexual battery case and to members of the county for being a distraction. But even amidst growing calls for him to step down, he says he's not going anywhere unless he's voted out.
In January, Dumler pleaded guilty to sexual battery. He was facing a felony forcible sodomy charge, but instead pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor sexual battery charge as part of a plea agreement. Several agencies, including the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, have publicly urged him to step down from the board. He has refused to step down. Click here for recent articles on the controversy.
On Wednesday NBC29's Whitney Harris sat down with Dumler. He says he's trying to clear the air about why he accepted a plea deal in the sex abuse case and why he's chosen to remain on the board.
"First, it's very important for me to say to the individual in question who came forward to the police that I'm sorry. I think that's very important for me to say right off the bat," he stated. "I acted inappropriately and my actions, as evidenced by her reactions - going to the police – [are] clearly evidence that I did something wrong."
He could not speak on the record about what happened back in October, but still maintains he did not do anything criminal.
"There's not too terribly much I can go into, there are terms of the plea deal that prohibit me from disclosing things," he said. "I remain confident that had this gone to trial I would not have been found guilty."
He says he chose to take a plea deal because of the time and money a trial would take, "at the end of the day it was not worth it for me to drag it out for a year, to essentially go through this long, laborious, onerous process to take it to trial."
Dumler also says he's sorry for the distraction he's caused for the board, like during Monday's budget meeting, but he says people are playing political games. "I think it would be negligent to fail to point out that many people - including the most vocal people who have wrote into the paper, or who have come to the board to speak - are ideologically opposed to some of those beliefs that I espoused."
Dumler admitted that he's been disrespectful towards people who have protested him. He acknowledges he hasn't handled the situation correctly thus far, making faces at Board of Supervisors meetings, while people protest against him. "I object to the characterization. I wasn't looking at myself but…it's hard to sit up there, obviously sometimes, and have people level personal attacks on you that are not always based on accurate information."
He denies the possibility of making a deal with any supervisors to find a replacement.
"The idea was brought to me, I thought about it extensively, for precisely the reason you just made, it is a distraction. But at the end of the day, whatever the reason for people wanting me gone, I didn't take an oath of office to the Democratic Party or to the people in White Hall or Jack Jouett or Samuel Miller District, I swore an oath of office to Scottsville," he stated. "I think it would be unfair to the people of the Scottsville District to have an unelected, appointed, interim supervisor represent their interests during this difficult time."
Dumler says, even after pleading guilty to misdemeanor sexual battery, he's staying in office, no matter what. "At this time I have no intention of stepping down, no intention of resigning. I do want to apologize to members of the board, and county staff who have been dragged through what is a very emotionally charged situation."
He maintains he's the best person to serve Scottsville. "It's more important that the people of Scottsville have a voice, have an elected voice. I think that a lot of people, again, may not approve of my behavior, whatever they think that may be, but I vote on issues."
When asked if he would agree to step down if there was someone to replace him that was similar politically, without the misdemeanor sexual battery charge, he replied, "I don't think someone like that exists."
Note: In a written statement to the Daily Progress, Dumler says he is unlikely to seek a second term to the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.
Interview: Chris Dumler Speaks Out on ControversyMore>>
Thursday, July 24 2014 5:06 PM EDT2014-07-24 21:06:07 GMT
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