By Linda Cicoira
A Bloxom man was found guilty Thursday in Accomack Circuit Court of sexually abusing a six-year-old girl in 2019.
While retaining his innocence through an Alford plea, 28-year-old Dillion Stanford Ward pleaded guilty to the offense in a plea agreement with Accomack Commonwealth’s Attorney Spencer Morgan.
In accordance with the agreement, Morgan will not prosecute another charge, object sexual penetration, involving the child. The prosecutor said it was the best outcome because the girl did not have to testify and the defendant is held accountable. The plea agreement caps the sentence at the mid-point of the guidelines.
The maximum sentence is 20 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. Ward was allowed to remain free on bond until sentencing on Dec. 16. Judge W. Revell Lewis III ordered a psychosexual evaluation and a short-form presentence report.
After being in the care of Ward, the child told her mother what Ward had done. She said it was a secret, Morgan told the court. The mother had dated the defendant. She contacted him via text messaging and broke off the relationship and reported the incident to police.
Morgan said Ward texted an apology. “I’m sorry. Good bye. I can’t believe myself after it happened.” Ward told authorities he did not do anything inappropriate and that the girl was touching herself and wanted him to be beside her on a couch.