Man avoids active jail time after pleading guilty to inappropriately touching 9-year-old

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York-Poquoson Courthouse
York-Poquoson Courthouse (file photo)

A 69-year-old man who inappropriately touched a 9-year-old girl was sentenced to two years in jail with the entire sentence suspended Tuesday morning.

Van Peter Spiker, of Newport News, pleaded guilty to two charges of simple assault & battery in the York County Circuit Court.

The charges stem from two separate incidents in which he touched the genitals of the 9-year-old, which occurred between September 2014 and his arrest in December 2015.

Spiker was originally charged with aggravated sexual battery with a victim less than 13 years old, but the two felony charges were amended Tuesday to two simple assault & battery charges, which are class 1 misdemeanors.

If Spiker complies with the terms and conditions of the plea agreement, he will not serve any time in jail.

Prosecutor Donna Maw told Judge Richard Rizk the victim’s parents accepted the plea agreement because they wanted the case to be finalized for the sake of their child. The child had previously testified at the case’s preliminary hearing, Maw said.

According to evidence laid out in court by Maw, the victim, who was known to Spiker, told her school counselor in December 2015 that Spiker had touched her inappropriately.

The first incident was in September 2014, Maw said. The child woke up one night and found Spiker touching her between her legs. In the second incident, the child had fallen asleep on the couch and woke up to find Spiker touching her chest under her shirt.

One witness, who the child had told about the first incident, gave police a statement during the police’s investigation, Maw said. The witness later recanted their statement, saying they could not recall who the child said touched them, and where they said they were touched.

Maw added that Spiker told police he had never touched the girl on purpose, and said he had been rubbing the child’s feet when she fell asleep and slid closer to him on the couch, resulting in his hand unintentionally going close to her private area.

The defense stipulated that the evidence was sufficient for the court to find Spiker guilty.

As part of the plea agreement, Spiker will submit to a psychosexual evaluation and follow through with any recommended treatment. He will have no direct unsupervised contact with any unrelated minors, and may have no contact with the victim.

He will report to Colonial Community Corrections for probation supervision for up to five years, although he may not need to report to probation for the full five-year period.

He is also required to pay restitution of about $140 for copayments from the child’s therapy sessions.

Speaking firmly, Rizk addressed Spiker, telling him that although he did not plead guilty to sex offenses, if he fails to admit the sexual facts behind the convictions to his therapist, he is in direct violation of the plea agreement.

He is also required to disclose the sexual nature of the offenses to anyone supervising minors he comes into contact with, Rizk said.

Fearing can be reached at 207-975-5459.