Performing arts leader convicted of molesting girls
One of the leaders of a Stafford-based performing arts company was convicted Thursday of molesting two teenage girls who performed with the troupe.
Phillip Wayne Lanier, 47, was convicted in Stafford County Circuit Court of two counts of indecent liberties with a minor.
Judge J. Martin Bass ordered him to serve six months in prison, even though the recommended state sentencing guidelines called only for probation.
Lanier entered Alford pleas to the charges, meaning that while he does not admit guilt he acknowledges there is sufficient evidence for convictions.
Lanier is the co-leader of Frick & Frack Music, a faith-based organization that presents performances featuring dancing, singing and drama.
According to the evidence presented by prosecutor Andrea Stewart, Lanier has been carrying on inappropriate relationships with at least two group members for about three years.
One girl told Stafford Detective Tim Covington that Lanier started fondling her breasts when she was 15 and continued until she left the program after turning 18.
Covington’s investigation turned up a second girl who said Lanier molested her over the same time period. She was between 12 and 15 during those years.
Both girls said Lanier regularly asked to see their bras and requested pictures of them wearing “sexy” lingerie.
Police searched Lanier’s home after his arrest and found love letters he had written to teenage girls, which he ended with “LSSABBOY,” which Stewart said stood for “Love sexy slips and black bras on you.”
Only two victims were part of the charges, but Stewart said there was evidence of other illicit activity.
She said that at one point, Lanier’s wife, Raynelle Lanier, found a picture of a teenager wearing lingerie on her husband’s phone and showed it to his business partner, Neesa Hart.
Stewart said the two women scolded the girl and ignored the previous message on the phone in which Phillip Lanier requested the picture.
Defense attorney Mark Murphy presented a stack of letters in which clients and friends spoke highly of Lanier.
He said that even after Lanier’s arrest, only one or two clients disassociated themselves from the business.
Lanier was sentenced to a total of 10 years in prison with all but the six months suspended.
The judge also barred him from having any contact with minors for the next 10 years and ordered him to register as a sex offender.
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404