As a public defender in Front Royal for five years in the mid-2000s, Michael Vincent Greenan listened to hundreds of plea bargain colloquies being read to his clients.
But in Frederick Circuit Court on Friday, the colloquy was being read to him and he didn’t like what he was hearing.
After first attempting to enter an Alford plea, in which defendants don’t admit guilt but concede there is enough evidence for conviction at trial, Greenan was told by Judge William Warner Eldridge IV that there was no deal without him admitting guilt. After conferring privately with his attorneys for about 10 minutes, Greenan pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated sexual battery for groping an 8-year-old between Aug. 13-19.
“Are you entering your plea of guilty because you are in fact guilty of the crime you’re charged with?” Eldridge asked. “Yes,” Greenan replied after a long pause.
Greenan received a 20-year sentence with 19½ years suspended. The sentence includes the 6½ months time served. Greenan’s attorney, D. Eric Wisely, told Eldridge his client was being released later that day. As part of the deal, 11 counts of aggravated sexual battery and five counts of object sexual penetration were dismissed.
Greenan, 78, became an attorney in Virginia in 1986. He practiced in Warrenton and Front Royal. After retiring, he moved in 2011 to North Port, Florida — a city of about 70,000 located about 85 miles south of Tampa.
It was while visiting Front Royal on vacation that the molestation occurred in his RV in Frederick County. Greenan was initially accused of molesting the girl and her 8-year-old sister between Dec. 19 and Aug. 19. However, the charge to which he pleaded guilty was for touching only one of the girls, according to Heather D. Enloe, a county assistant commonwealth’s attorney. She said both girls are considered victims because they were both in the RV when the molestation occurred.
In a phone call monitored by police in hopes that Greenan would incriminate himself shortly after the girls reported the molestation, Enloe said Greenan spoke with the adopted mother of the girls. He said the girls groped him and he hadn’t told the mother because he didn’t want to get them in trouble.
Enloe said Greenan’s explanation and assertion that the girls were acting sexually because they’d been previously molested were false. While the girls had experienced trauma that led to them being adopted, Enloe said there was no evidence they’d been previously molested and the girls’ account of being molested by Greenan was truthful. Enloe said it had been a struggle to reach a plea deal that balanced protecting the community and providing justice.
The fact that the mother supported the agreement rather than having the girls endure testifying at trial was a major reason for the deal. “She places the mental well-being of her children above all other considerations,” said Enloe of the mother, who appeared in court but declined to testify.
Eldridge said the mother’s support was a major reason he signed off on the agreement.
“What you did was appalling and wrong,” he told Greenan, who declined to speak before being sentenced. “I hope you think about that as you go forward with your life.”
Upon release, Greenan is on 10 years of supervised probation and must register as a sex offender for life. The deal also includes a lifetime protective order between him and the girls and their immediate family.