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.
Jury to deliberate on abuse charges
BY PORTSIA SMITH
A jury’s interpretation of a fractured baby tooth could determine whether or not a former Caroline County sheriff’s deputy will go to prison.
Five men and seven women will deliberate Friday in Caroline Circuit Court on child abuse and malicious wounding charges against Clyde C. Davenport.
Davenport, 50, who briefly ran for sheriff in 1997, is accused of physically abusing and sexually molesting a boy starting more than 10 years ago. The boy is now a 19-year-old man.
The trial, which began Wednesday, was scheduled to be over today. But after hearing testimony from 23 witnesses, Judge Joe Ellis extended the trial into today. Closing statements will begin at 10 a.m.
The charges stem from a Virginia State Police investigation after a 2008 complaint from the Department of Social Services. The physical abuse is alleged to have started in December 1998, when the boy was 8 years old.
The 19-year-old testified that he has been terrified of Davenport for years. He claimed that when he was 5, Davenport threatened to roast him in an oven. The boy’s mother and another witness testified that claim was true.
He said that Davenport sodomized him when he was 8 and constantly called him names. He said Davenport punched him in the mouth and broke one of his back teeth.
The boy never went to the dentist about the tooth, and his mother said that she never knew about the alleged incident until years later. But the boy’s third-grade teacher testified that she caught him picking away pieces of a tooth during a test. She said he told her what happened and she reported it to an administrator, but nothing happened.
The man, his mother and other witnesses said they called police about the abuse but said they believed because of Davenport’s relationship with the local sheriff’s office, nothing ever happened.
One witness said the police seldom responded. When they did, they laughed at the family.
Davenport was hired as a deputy in December 1988 by then-Sheriff O.J. Moore and left the force in August 1997, when Homer Johnson was sheriff. He worked as a school resource officer and as a D.A.R.E. officer.
Davenport testified that he resigned in 1997 so that he could run for sheriff that year. However, he did not continue with his campaign.
Davenport, who now lives in King William County, said he served with the Army military police before he was a deputy.
Davenport testified that the boy’s mother was angry with him because she asked him to kill her boss and he refused. He said she also asked him to hire a hit man for $500 to kill a school official who had suspended her son for drug offenses.
He said he didn’t want any part of the plots and notified authorities.
Regarding the sexual abuse allegation, Davenport testified, “Just the thought of it makes me sick. It’s something I would never do, never consider. I did not do that.”
Defense Attorney John LaFratta questioned why the abuse wasn’t reported until 2008, just months after Davenport and the boy’s mother were involved in a court action.
Davenport said he and the boy’s mother had been in court at least 10 times on matters before the abuse charges surfaced, which he says are just a distraction so he could lose the court case.
Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419