Free Lance-Star reporter Robyn Sidersky covers Caroline County government and schools. You can reach her at 540/374-5413 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow coverage on Facebook or Twitter as well.
Sex offender pleads guilty to being on school grounds
A Stafford County man who pretended to be the uncle of a Caroline High School student so that he could sign her out of school pleaded guilty yesterday to three charges.
Sean Arthur Truax, 25, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of being on school property as a violent sex offender and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Caroline Circuit Court Judge Joseph J. Ellis found Truax not guilty of one count of abduction and one count of attempted abduction.
The investigation started March 1 when Caroline High special-education teacher Dora Ashlock noticed that a 16-year-old female student was not in class. Ashlock testified in court yesterday that she remembered seeing the student get off a school bus earlier that same morning.
School Resource Officer R.J. Anderson of the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office was notified and found the underage girl and an adult male walking along State Route 207 away from the high school.
When stopped by Anderson, Truax identified himself as the student’s uncle, but the two are not related.
Anderson found that Truax was a registered violent sex offender who is prohibited from being on any school grounds.
School sign-out sheets, which were entered into evidence during yesterday’s trial, showed that Truax had successfully signed the girl out of school on Feb. 15 for an alleged doctor’s appointment and had tried to sign her out again on Feb. 19, but school officials did not release her that day.
Defense Attorney Melissa Danjczek argued that Truax should not be charged with abduction and attempted abduction because the girl voluntarily left school grounds with him and had planned to meet him. Danjczek showed the judge 275 pages of cell phone records with text messages between Truax and the girl discussing how they could see each other.
“They were in a relationship. They were in love and wanted to spend time together,” Danjczek said. “She didn’t do anything she didn’t want to do. They left together voluntarily. That’s not abduction.”
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney James Younger argued that it was abduction because Truax deceived school officials who were in charge of the 16-year-old’s care.
Judge Ellis, who ordered everyone out of the courtroom during the girl’s testimony, disagreed.
“It was her idea,” he said. “She is clearly a co-conspirator in her own abduction.”
The girl’s elderly grandmother, who had custody of her up until she was hospitalized for eye surgery, said she had no idea about the relationship and is upset that Truax took advantage of her granddaughter.
The girl is now in foster care and has not spoken to her grandmother since she moved out, the grandmother said.
The girl’s legal guardian declined to comment about the case.
In 2004, Truax was convicted in Hanover County of rape and object sexual penetration.
He is currently being held in Pamunkey Regional Jail.
Truax will be sentenced on Feb. 9 and faces up to 11 years in prison.