State trooper on administrative leave after reported assault at Powhatan school

A special prosecutor has been assigned to the case
The Powhatan Sheriff's Office says they got a report that a man assaulted a juvenile female student at the Blessed Sacrament Huguenot School on December third.
Published: Dec. 9, 2022 at 1:43 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 12, 2022 at 3:20 PM EST
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POWHATAN, Va. (WWBT) - A Virginia State Police trooper is on administrative leave after his alleged involvement in a reported assault at a school earlier this month.

On Monday, Virginia State Police issued a statement about the trooper who may have been involved:

“Trooper D.M. Ledbetter was placed on administrative leave effective Dec. 6, 2022. The Virginia State Police does not comment on the subject of disciplinary/administrative matters, as governed by Virginia Code §§ 2.2-3705.1(1) & 2.2-3706 (B) (9) (i) and § 2.2-3706.1 (C). He will remain on administrative leave pending the outcome of an ongoing criminal investigation and a subsequent internal administrative investigation.”

Catholic Diocese of Richmond, which represents the school, released a statement to NBC12 saying in part:

“Diocesan School Administration was made aware of an incident involving a student and parent volunteer on the school grounds of The Blessed Sacrament Huguenot Academy in Powhatan, Dec. 3, 2022. The school and staff are cooperating with the Powhatan Sheriff’s Office as it conducts its investigation. The diocese and school officials take this matter seriously. Since this is an active investigation by a law enforcement agency, the diocese and school refrain from any further comment at this time.”

The Powhatan County Sheriff’s Office says it received a report on Dec. 3 that an adult male had assaulted a juvenile female on Dec. 3 at The Blessed Sacrament Huguenot School.

“The Powhatan County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office requested a special prosecutor be assigned, and the Henrico County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office has been assigned by the court,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release on Friday.

Henrico County Commonwealth Attorney Shannon Taylor tells NBC12 she was not notified about the request until late last week.

Taylor says she has made contact with investigators but cannot release any further information on the case at this time.

NBC12 Legal Analyst Steve Benjamin says special prosecutors are assigned when a potential conflict of interest arises.

“Whenever a prosecutor feels that way, when his neutrality, objectively may be questioned, even if there is no actual conflict of interest, it is appropriate they step aside and ask an independent prosecutor to come in and investigate any charging decisions,” Benjamin said.

Benjamin says it’s important to note that these are the only allegations so far.

“It’s a report of criminal activity, and until it is investigated and all the facts are known, we don’t know what did or didn’t happen,” Benjamin said.

No specific information about the case has been released, and no charges have been filed.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Powhatan County Sheriff’s Office at 804-598-5656.