Albemarle Supervisor Dumler Charged with Sodomy
An Albemarle County supervisor is facing a felony forcible sodomy charge. Supervisor Chris Dumler was arrested in the early morning hours of Thursday, October 18 and charged with one count of forcible sodomy.
Court records indicate Dumler is accused of having anal intercourse with a victim through force, threat or intimidation. Albemarle County police say this is an active case, and that the investigation is ongoing.
The arrest made was following an October 16 investigation into an incident on October 4. Police are not saying where the incident took place. The victim's name is not being released but police say she was known by Dumler.
Albemarle County Police Chief Steve Sellers said, "The victim in this case was known to Mr. Dumler. The Albemarle County Police Department has been working closely with the commonwealth attorney's office throughout this investigation."
Dumler appeared in Albemarle General District Court for a bond hearing via video conference at 9:00 Thursday morning. He was wearing a prison jumpsuit and was cordial with the judge.
Two people testified at the hearing, including Dumler's girlfriend Megan Gadient. She said she's been with Dumler since August 2011, and lives with him. Another person testified that Dumler has no family in the area and that they don't believe he has a past criminal history.
Charlottesville Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Chapman had been called in temporarily to handle the case for Albemarle County Commonwealth's Attorney Denise Lunsford. Dumler is an Albemarle supervisor, which presented a conflict of interest with Lunsford's office. Chapman stepped in due to his location in Charlottesville.
In court Chapman said that because he got the case 20 minutes before the hearing, he was not comfortable proceeding with a bond hearing. Chapman said he had an oral report from the investigator on the case but needed to refine it to put conditions on any bond.
Judge William Barkley told Dumler to have his attorney contact Chapman and try to setup a time Thursday afternoon or Friday for a bond hearing. Dumler is being held at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail pending the bond hearing.
Thursday afternoon, Fluvanna County Commonwealth's Attorney Jeff Haislip was appointed as the special prosecutor on the case by Albemarle County Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Higgins. Haislip will take over for Chapman.
Dumler's bond hearing has been set for 11:00 Friday morning in Albemarle County General District Court.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for December 13. If convicted he faces a prison sentence of 5 years to life.
Chris Dumler has served on the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors since January of this year. He represents the Scottsville district. He is also on the Scottsville Board of Zoning Appeals and a member of the Scottsville Government Services Committee.
According to his biography page on the county website, he graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2009. He is an attorney and he is a member of the Charlottesville - Albemarle Criminal Bar Association.
Dumler is still an active member of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors. We spoke with three members of the board, who said they were shocked when they heard the news. They say this is the first time in history one of their members has been accused of a felony.
County insiders say they were completely caught off guard by the news of the overnight arrest. They did not know anything about it until a press release was sent out Thursday morning.
Rivanna District Supervisor Ken Boyd says because it is an ongoing investigation he feels it is too early to make any judgments.
"We had no indication of anything like this going on, that he was under investigation," he stated.
Because Dumler has not been convicted, he may continue to hold his position on the board or he may voluntarily resign.
Boyd stated, "One of the questions I've got is, 'what's the impact that this has?' I'm not even really sure how that works because just never been a situation where we've had one of our members accused of a felony."
A statute says if any board member is convicted of a felony, they are to be removed from office. If that board member voluntarily resigns, the other members can vote to bring in an interim member who would serve until a special election or the next general election.
Vice chairman of the board, Duane Snow, says he hopes the allegations are not true.
"I trust the courts and the police to do their work to give a fair and impartial trial," he stated. "I find him to be a great guy, articulate, and I'm just totally shocked."
County Spokesperson Lee Catlin says it is too early to speculate how the incident might impact the operations of the board.