RICHMOND, Va. – After a three-day trial, the jury delivered its verdict and found the former Richmond police officer Charles Church guilty of sex crimes against a child.
Church was found guilty of one count of object sexual penetration, one count of sodomy and two counts of obstruction of justice. He was also found not guilty of one count of object sexual penetration, one count of sodomy.
A Richmond jury recommended a sentence of life in prison plus a year.
Church was indicted in May 2017 on two felony counts of sodomy of a victim under the age of 13, two felony counts of object sexual penetration of a victim under the age of 13 and indecent liberties with a child under the age of 15.
Investigators said Church sexually assaulted a juvenile female under the age of 13 on November 2, 2015. During Church’s three-day trial, forensic experts testified that none of his DNA was found on the body of the alleged victim, but that it was found on a pair of her underwear.
A DNA expert for the defense testified that there could have been another person’s DNA on the underwear as well, which would prove their theory that Church’s DNA came from his clothes being in the same laundry basket and not sexual contact.
Defense attorneys also told the jury that the girl’s story had changed multiple times, but prosecutors countered and said she was just 11 at the time of the alleged assault, and that children process memories and details differently.
Church was at one point also accused of receiving child pornography which resulted in separate federal charges, but earlier this month those charges were dismissed after a judge ruled the evidence gathered was obtained through an illegal search.
Church spent 12 years with the RPD before he was indicted.