The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Predator therapist to serve 13 years
A former licensed therapist with Rappahannock Area Community Services Board was sentenced Tuesday to 13 years in prison for sex crimes against his juvenile and intellectually challenged patients.
Scott Gordon Henry, 67, of Henrico County pleaded guilty in Caroline County Circuit Court to two counts of aggravated sexual battery of a child under 13, one count of indecent liberties with a child under 15 and one count of aggravated sexual battery against a mentally incapacitated person.
Twenty-one similar charges were dropped as part of a plea agreement.
Circuit Court Judge J. Howe Brown sentenced Henry to 52 years in jail with all but 13 years suspended based on the agreement. Henry must also register as a sex offender, have supervised contact with minors and have no contact at all with seven of his victims—five were children and two were adults with mental disabilities.
“There aren’t enough years in eternity to punish you for what you did,” Brown told Henry. “Not just to the people who trusted you, but you must have known you were sick and didn’t seek help.”
Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Diane Abato said the plea agreement was made because of Henry’s age and bad health, but mainly because of the impact testifying in court would have had on the victims.
According to the indictments, a majority of the incidents are believed to have occurred between January 2003 and January 2004 and involved victims who were under 13.
One of the victims was a 6-year-old boy who was told that touching was part of his therapy.
“He has struggled with what happened to him and has been hospitalized because of the impact it has had on him,” Abato said.
One of the indecent liberties charges against Henry involved a different victim under the age of 15 whom he watched while using the bathroom. That incident is said to have occurred between January 2007 and January 2008.
One of the aggravated sexual battery charges is said to have occurred between May 17–31, 2002, with a victim who was physically or mentally incapacitated. He was told to show Henry his private parts and was touched in that area, Abato said.
That victim’s brother stated after court that his brother is 54 years old, but has the mind of a teenager. He said the offenses occurred when he was 48 years old, but no one had any idea until he saw Henry’s picture in the media in December in reference to child abuse.
“I didn’t really think much about it but asked my brother about [his therapist] and if anything ever happened to him and he said ‘yes,’” the brother said. “I thought he was just a regular guy. Apparently, this guy was a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
Henry was arrested in December after Caroline Sheriff’s Office investigators received information that he was involved in inappropriate sexual activity with a juvenile patient of the Rappahannock Area Community Services Board.
According to county Sheriff Tony Lippa, a guardian reported to police that the alleged offense occurred between 2003 and 2004 when the victim was 6 years old. The victim reportedly said things that led the guardian to believe something inappropriate happened, Lippa said.
Henry was charged with aggravated sexual battery in Caroline Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
After it was made public, authorities began to have other parents calling about their children.
A December statement from RACSB Executive Director Ronald Branscome confirmed that Henry was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.
Henry’s employment with the regional agency, which serves people with mental health, disabilities and substance abuse issues, ended on Jan. 15, said spokeswoman Michelle Wagaman.
Wagaman said the board has maintained its same level of services, and that a new therapist was assigned to take take over Henry’s patients.
Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419