Judge Certifies Sodomy Charges Against Former Charlottesville Officer
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -
A grand jury will hear the case against a former Charlottesville police officer.
Christopher Seymore, facing two counts of forcible sodomy charges, appeared in a city general district courtroom Thursday, April 13 for his preliminary hearing. After about two hours of testimony, judge Robert Downer determined there was probable cause to certify the felony charges.
The majority of the hearing featured testimony from the alleged victim in this case. She says Seymore sexually assaulted her twice on Nov. 18 at her home on Shamrock Road.
According to her testimony, Seymore was on her street investigating an unrelated traffic incident, which she witnessed. She told the judge Seymore entered her home to take her statement, because it was cold outside.
After she thought the conversation was over, she said he returned inside and shut her door, without the body camera she says she had noticed before, commenting on her looks. She testified that she began thinking, "something is not right."
The victim testified Seymore told her he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and began groping her. She says Seymore then pushed her to have oral sex with him, to which she says she obliged, because Seymore was a police officer.
"it was very clear to me I didn't have a choice," she said.
Charlottesville attorney Jeff Fogel is representing the victim's interests in the case. He says her story makes sense.
"It is very reasonable that somebody would be afraid and comply with the police officer. We see it every day on the street. People comply with police officers because they're afraid of them," he said after the court hearing.
The victim testified she went to sleep after Seymore left, but awoke when he came back to her home, hours later, purportedly to inform her about the resolution of the unrelated incident outside her home. She says he re-entered her house as he talked about the case, but quickly resumed the sexual advances. When asked why she allowed him back in her house, the victim told the judge, "I ask myself that every day."
The victim testified Seymore once again pushed her to have oral sex with him. Seymore's alleged conduct only became known to the Charlottesville Police Department after the victim revealed the incident to an officer she knows.
Fogel applauds her decision to come forward.
"Each part of this proceeding is a traumatic event for my client; not just the incident that actually occurred on Nov. 18, but to each time you have to appear," he said.
Investigators with Charlottesville Police said in testimony that Seymore claims any sexual conduct between he and the victim was consensual.
Outside court, the victim, who identified herself to reporters as Ronna Gary, said she is proceeding in the aftermath of these alleged incidents with the help of the Sexual Assault Resource Agency, or S.A.R.A., which can be reached at the 24/7 hotline (434)-977-7273.
Gary had only a message for other sexual assault victims.
"If there are any victims out there, please come forward and share your story," she said.
A grand jury will hear Seymore's case in June at Charlottesville Circuit Court.
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