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Sentencing in sex crime delayed

By Preston Knight - pknight@nvdaily.com

WOODSTOCK -- Sentencing is on hold for a Strasburg man who has admitted to sexually assaulting two girls under 10 years of age until a psychologist who prepared a sex offender report on him can testify.

Warren Jessee Parsons, 19, was scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday afternoon in Shenandoah County Circuit Court, but defense attorney Anthony Harrer said he would rather wait until Dr. Ilona Gravers could be present to address the court. His attempts to reach her had been unsuccessful, he said.

Gravers, of Manassas, has evaluated Parsons since he pleaded guilty to two charges of aggravated sexual battery and a charge of object sexual penetration in August. He has admitted to touching an 8-year-old Prince William County girl last December, and then repeatedly doing the same to a 10-year-old Shenandoah County girl during the past year.

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Ken Alger has said the abuse happened so often against the older girl that investigators do not know how many times, prompting just the single sexual battery charge.

Even though the case was continued Wednesday, testimony was still given by the defendant's grandfather, Joe Jessee, of Olin, N.C., because the witness was unsure if he would be able to attend the next court date.

There is no plea agreement in the case, so Jessee asked Judge Dennis L. Hupp to be as considerate as possible, noting that Parsons is 19 and the high end of sentencing guidelines in the case could put him behind bars for 28 years.

"Entering the court system for 28 years," Jessee said, "that will be pretty much the end of his life."

He added that while the death sentence does not apply here, that length of imprisonment would do about the same damage.

Jessee said Parsons' "horrendous" actions of have "completely and totally destroyed" his family, and will tarnish the family name "probably forever." But he still supports his grandson, and informed Hupp that since being in jail, Parsons has become a born-again Christian and helps other inmates with reading and writing.

"I think he deserves another chance," Jessee said.

Without confirming Gravers' availability, the court temporarily set sentencing for Feb. 2. Parsons is scheduled to be sentenced on March 10 in Prince William County Circuit Court for an aggravated sexual battery charge he pleaded guilty to last month, online records state. The offense happened on Christmas last year.

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