Roanoke man pleads guilty to sex solicitation with minor

WOODSTOCK — Justin Barger, 18, pleaded guilty Wednesday to several charges, including one sex offense, stemming from a July 2016 incident with a 14-year-old passenger in his grandmother’s car.

According to documents read to the court by Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Louis Campola, Barger was driving 55 mph in a 25 mph zone on U.S. 11 in Woodstock when an officer began pursuit. Barger kept accelerating and lost control of the vehicle, hitting the Shenandoah Probation and Parole building on the corner of Main and Court streets.

Barger originally told police that the 14-year-old Strasburg girl in the car with him was his cousin, but data from his phone showed sexually explicit text messages between the two, and discussions on concealing their age differences to their families.

“I didn’t have my head on my shoulders,” Barger said to Judge Dennis Hupp. “I’ve set some goals and I’m trying to change my life.”

Barger’s defense attorney, Charles Ramsey, said that he does not believe that there was an issue of sanity at the time the crimes were committed.

As part of a plea agreement, Barger pleaded guilty to sexual offense with a minor by computer, child endangerment, eluding police, reckless driving of more than 20 mph over the speed limit, driving without a license and destruction of property.

Barger was also facing charges of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and credit card larceny, both belonging to his grandmother, but the prosecution dropped those charges as part of the plea agreement.

He will also have to begin a sex offender evaluation before sentencing.

The felony charges Barger pleaded to carry a maximum sentence of five years each. Sentencing for these charges is set for June 28.

Contact staff writer Briahnna Brown at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or bbrown@nvdaily.com