Front Royal man to serve six months for aggravated sexual battery of a minor
FRONT ROYAL – A Front Royal man will serve six months in jail after submitting an Alford plea of guilt to one charge of the aggravated sexual battery of a young girl.
Mark Christopher Solares, 24, submitted his plea in Warren County Circuit Court to charges relating to an incident that occurred Sept. 16. An Alford plea of guilt allows Solares to accept a plea deal without conceding guilt, but acknowledging the prosecution has enough evidence to win the case.
Under terms of a plea agreement, Solares was sentenced to serve seven years in jail, with all but six months suspended. The maximum punishment for sexual assault and battery of a minor is 20 years.
According to a statement of the evidence given by Warren County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Layton, the victim was asleep when Solares entered the room. He had been drinking that night before he placed his hands on the victim’s body and beneath her clothes. When the victim awoke, she resisted Solares’ advance.
The victim shared the incident with a school guidance counselor, who notified the Department of Social Services and the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.
While John Bell, attorney for the defendant, did not object to this statement of the evidence, he said if a jury were to believe the victim’s account, his client would likely be found guilty. However, he said her testimony is disputed, and she has recanted certain elements from her original statement.
Bell declined further comment after the hearing.
Per terms of Solares’ probation, he will also have to register as a sex offender upon release, and is not allowed to contact the victim.
Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or firstname.lastname@example.org.