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A 24-year-old man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexually abusing one of his underage relatives for at least five years.
Matthew David Manning began abusing the girl in 2007 when she was 8 years old. Manning would be alone in a room with the girl and remove her clothes. He would also inappropriately touch the girl with his hands and mouth.
When the girl was between the ages of 13 and 15, Manning would spend the night at the girl’s house. While the two were alone in the living room, Manning would watch pornography on his cell phone or laptop while touching the girl.
The girl, who is now 16, first told her mother about the abuse in February 2014, saying she feared reprisals from Manning. James City County Police arrested Manning on Nov. 8, 2014 after a nearly nine-month investigation. He pleaded guilty to charges of felony aggravated sexual battery and misdemeanor taking indecent liberties with a child in May.
In a tearful statement to Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Judge Michael McGinty, Manning said he apologized for the harm he had caused to the victim and his family, and said he had recently started seeking therapy for sexual abuse he experienced as a child.
A pre-sentencing report indicated Manning was sexually abused as a child by his biological father.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Maureen Kufro said the abuse experienced by Manning “explains a lot, but it justifies nothing.”
Kufro called Manning’s crime “one of the worst kinds of deviance” and asked McGinty to impose a heavy sentence.
McGinty said he considered many factors in his decision, including Manning’s lack of a criminal history and Manning’s own abuse experiences, but said he had to balance the punishment with the pain Manning inflicted on the girl.
McGinty sentenced Manning to 12 months in prison for the misdemeanor, with all of it suspended, and 20 years in prison with 14 years suspended for the felony charge, exceeding the sentencing guideline of five years and two months in prison.
Manning must also serve 30 years of closely supervised probation.
As part of his probation, Manning must register as a sex offender, must comply with all treatment suggested by the probation office, cannot live in a home with a child 16 years of age or younger, may not have unsupervised contact with a minor, may have no contact with the victim, can access the internet for work or school purposes only and with the pre-approval of a probation officer.