By Joe Beck
FRONT ROYAL -- A Winchester man agreed Tuesday in Warren County Circuit Court to plead no contest to a charge of committing sodomy with a child less than 13 years old.
Judge Dennis L. Hupp said he would wait until he had received and read a pre-sentence report on the defendant, Keith Douglas Crisp, 36, before agreeing to accept the plea.
Crisp is facing six years in prison under terms of the agreement, which call for a total sentence of 50 years, 44 of which are to be suspended. Sodomy committed by an adult with a child less than 13 can carry a sentence of up to life imprisonment.
Authorities say Crisp committed the crime May 11 after the victim's mother reported him to law enforcement officials. Crisp has been held in the Warren County Jail since his arrest around the same time.
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Bryan Layton said after the hearing that the victim, an 11-year-old girl, had held up well in testifying at a preliminary hearing. Layton said he believed her testimony helped persuade Crisp to forgo a trial in the case.
But Layton said he agreed to make some concessions in the range of sentencing to avoid putting the girl on the witness stand again during a trial.
"Anytime you're putting a kid through this, there's always the risk you can damage the child," Layton said.
Crisp was returned to jail where he awaits a sentencing hearing scheduled for 9 a.m. May 5.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org