Woman pleads guilty in rape case
WOODSTOCK – A woman pleaded guilty Wednesday in Shenandoah County Circuit Court to raping an 8-year-old boy and committing two other sex-related offenses with the victim.
Tina Hillsman, 35, formerly of New Market, faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment plus a total maximum sentence of 30 years on the two other counts, aggravated sexual battery and indecent liberties with a child.
Judge Dennis L. Hupp ordered a pre-sentence investigation and sex offender examination for Hillsman that he will consider at a sentencing hearing scheduled for 9 a.m. Nov. 18.
Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Louis Campola read a summary of what the evidence would have shown had the case proceeded to a trial. Campola cited worries about the mental strain that a trial would have placed on the victim as the reason why he dropped a list of related charges as part of a plea agreement with Hillsman.
Hillsman attorney, Varinder Dhillon of Harrisonburg, did not contest Campola’s summary of the case, sometimes called a proffer.
“Your honor, I have no evidence in the matter,” Dhillon told Hupp. “I agree with the proffer.”
Hillsman and Robert Lee Good, a co-defendant in the case, were originally charged with a total of 17 sex offenses. Good, also formerly of New Market, pleaded guilty in August to raping the same victim – as a second degree principal in the female rape of the victim — and taking indecent liberties with a child. Both were Alford pleas under which a defendant maintains his innocence while acknowledging the prosecution has enough evidence to convict him before a judge or a jury.
Good, 49, is scheduled to be sentenced in October.
Campola described a case that began in 2011 with Good and Hillsman each indicted on a single charge of taking indecent liberties with a child, the same child who is the victim in the current case. The charges in 2011 were dropped two months later after the victim told authorities he didn’t want Hillsman to get in trouble and retracted statements he had made about what Hillsman and Good had done to him.
Campola said the case was reopened in late 2014 when the victim, who was in mental health counseling, told his counselor he was afraid Good and Hillsman would molest another, younger child. The counselor reported the victim’s remarks to law enforcement officials, who then contacted Hillsman and interviewed her about the boy’s accusations.
Campola said Hillsman told Investigator George Poe II of the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office that she had sexual intercourse with the boy. She also agreed to testify against Good.
Campola said his evidence would show Hillsman had sexual intercourse with the boy at the urging and under the instructions of Good, who also had intercourse with her.
Campola also described another incident in which the child witnessed a sex act between Good and Hillsman.
“The child found a sex toy and vibrator and asked how it worked,” Campola said, adding that Good then inserted it into Hillsman’s vagina.
The indictments list the dates of the offenses as spanning a period between May 1, 2010 and March 1, 2011.
Campola said after the hearing that Poe “did a great job in the investigation” after the case was resurrected in September 2014.
“The Sheriff’s Office said, ‘we’re not going to let this go,'” Campola said.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org