By Linda Cicoira

A Horntown man was sentenced to more than a dozen years in prison Thursday in Accomack Circuit Court for the March 2020 rape of a 35-year-old Maryland woman.

Fifty-one-year-old George Leroyal Townsend, of Justice Road, was given 12 years and 10 months for the crime. The two years and four months he has already served will be subtracted from the total sentence. A jury convicted him of rape in September 2021. At that time, he was acquitted of sodomy involving the same woman.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Spencer Morgan said the guidelines called for Townsend to be sentenced anywhere from seven to 15 years. He asked for at least the midpoint of the range. The prosecutor said the victim no longer feels safe and lost her job because of her fear. She is scared to walk to and from work and is constantly looking over her shoulder, Morgan said. “She struggled to cope even after the verdict,” the prosecutor added.

Judge W. Revell Lewis III held up a pile of letters he had received from members of Townsend’s church community. The writers supported Townsend and boasted of his good character. Judge Lewis said he read all of those letters and a victim’s impact statement before he sentenced Townsend.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the rape and reportedly claimed the sex was consensual. The name of the victim is not disclosed due to the nature of the crime.

Defense lawyer James Broccoletti, of Virginia Beach, argued the defendant had a serious bout with COVID while he was incarcerated. He said Townsend had already served a “significant sentence.” Broccoletti asked the court to grant bond while the defendant appeals the decision. Morgan opposed bond and Lewis denied it.

Townsend had been serving weekends in jail for a misdemeanor offense when the rape occurred.

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