Ex-Virginia deputy acquitted of sexually abusing inmate

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (AP) — A former Virginia sheriff’s deputy who appealed his conviction on a charge of sexually abusing a woman in a courthouse holding cell was cleared of wrongdoing this week.

Timothy Burnside worked for the Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office for 17 years prior to being fired after a sexual assault complaint was filed against him in February 2019, according to The Virginian-Pilot. He was found guilty of misdemeanor sexual battery in Chesapeake General District Court in May, but following a two-day trial on his appeal, a jury acquitted him of the charge Monday.

The 53-year-old was accused of inappropriately touching a female inmate in the lock-up area at the Chesapeake courthouse in February 2019, authorities and news outlets have said. Burnside told investigators that the woman’s hands touched his genitals, though he described it as a “bump,” according to The Pilot.

Special prosecutor Greg Turpin alleged in court this week that Burnside had actually repeatedly pulled the victim’s hands to his genitals while handcuffing her in a holding cell at the courthouse.

In his closing argument to jurors, Burnside’s attorney, Curtis Brown, cast doubt on the accuser’s credibility and alleged the woman could not identify Burnside in a photo line up, the newspaper said. The jury of five women and two men sided with the defense.

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