Sex crimes reported on Turner Drive

Published 10:00 am Friday, March 18, 2022

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Editor’s note: This story has been updated with information on a March 11 rape, also reported on Turner Drive.

Isle of Wight County’s school system and Sheriff’s Office are releasing few details regarding a series of alleged sex crimes — two of which involved one or more juveniles.

According to a listing of incidents to which deputies responded during the week of Feb. 12-18, there were reports of “fondling” and “indecent liberties” on Turner Drive on Feb. 15. Then, on March 11, there was a reported rape, also on Turner Drive.

Turner Drive spans roughly two miles from Scott’s Factory Road to Benn’s Church Boulevard, and serves as the access road for Smithfield High School and Smithfield Middle School. The Sheriff’s Office would not say whether the reported incidents occurred at either school.

“At this time, we are not able to share information concerning this incident,” said Capt. Tommy Potter, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, on Feb. 25 when The Smithfield Times attempted to obtain further details. 

When the Times followed up on March 18, the Sheriff’s Office would not state whether the reported rape was connected to the February incidents.

The Times reached out to Isle of Wight County Schools spokeswoman Lynn Briggs on March 9 to inquire what if any information had been communicated to parents. Briggs also would not confirm whether the alleged fondling and indecent liberties incidents had occurred at either school and deferred further details to the Sheriff’s Office.

She did, however, confirm on March 22 that the reported March 11 rape did not occur at either school.

“In general, we do not notify parents about student disciplinary matters unless the matter poses a broad safety issue,” Briggs said.

Under Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act, law enforcement agencies are required to provide a general description of reported criminal activity for felony offenses, the date, time and general location the alleged crime was committed, the identities of investigating officers and a description of any injuries or property damaged or stolen. The Times filed such a request regarding the fondling and indecent liberties incidents on March 9 and received a response from Deputy Paul Nash of the Sheriff’s Office’s Administrative Services Division the same day.

His response, however, provided few details beyond what had been included in the initial incident listing. Nash reported the fondling incident as having occurred on Feb. 11, four days prior to deputies being dispatched, and as having resulted in no injuries, property damage or theft. The incident occurred between the hours of 12:40 and 1:10 p.m.

He provided no specifics regarding either incident beyond describing the incidents as “fondling” and “indecent liberties,” and listing a location of “Turner Drive.” Sgt. Alex Johnson and Deputy Matthew Forni were the investigating officers.

For the indecent liberties charge, Nash reported an “unknown” date and time, and also reported no injuries, property damage or theft.

He did, however, confirm both of the February charges pertain to incidents involving juveniles. Under state law, law enforcement agencies are to keep records pertaining to juveniles protected from public disclosure unless a juvenile age 14 or older is charged with a violent juvenile felony.

“No further information will be released, as this involves juveniles and is an active ongoing criminal investigation,” Nash said.