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Posted June 13, 2011 | comments Leave a comment

Ex-church leader sentenced for sex crimes

By Alex Bridges-abridges@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- A former church leader from Appomattox must serve five years in prison for committing a sex crime against a child in Frederick County a year ago.

Dennis Craig Erb Sr., 60, of 3167 Bellview Road, pleaded guilty Friday in Frederick County Circuit Court to one count each of sodomy, a family member to a child, and taking indecent liberties with a minor under 15 years old. The offenses took place June 3, 2010, authorities said in court documents.

Retired Judge Benjamin Kendrick sentenced Erb to 15 years for sodomy, and suspended 10 years of the term. Kendrick also sentenced Erb to two years, all suspended, for taking indecent liberties. Both terms are to run concurrently. The judge ordered Erb to serve 10 years of supervised probation upon his release.

Erb entered into a plea agreement reached between the commonwealth and his attorney, Howard Manheimer, who represents him on the local charges. Commonwealth's Attorney Glenn Williamson said Erb pleaded to the sodomy charge under Alford v. North Carolina, in which the defendant maintains innocence but acknowledges the prosecution has sufficient evidence.

Authorities in Appomattox County charged Erb with one count of aggravated sexual battery by a family member against a child age 13 to 17 on June 15, 2010. Erb faces a trial on the charge July 19 in Appomattox County Circuit Court.

Aggravated sexual battery is a felony punishable by confinement for a term of not less than one nor more than 20 years, and by a fine of not more than $100,000.

Erb pleaded guilty March 31 in Waynesboro Circuit Court to one count of aggravated sexual battery by a family member against a child age 13 to 17. Court records show the offense occurred July 9, 2010.

A judge sentenced Erb to three years, but suspended two years and six months of the term that he ordered to run consecutively to any other time received. The judge also ordered in this case for Erb to serve three years of unsupervised probation upon his release.

Williamson has said all of Erb's charges involve the same person.

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