Prosecutors: explicit text messages sent between Del. Morrissey, 17-year-old
HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Prosecutors released more than 80 text messages between Del. Joseph D. Morrissey (D-Henrico) and a former underage receptionist Friday, as part of the Commonwealth's evidence outlined in the lawmaker's plea agreement.
Morrissey's defense also presented its version of the evidence within the plea documents, vehemently disputing the authenticity of the explicit text messages.
Court documents outlining the prosecution's case show a text between Morrissey and a long-time friend on Aug. 20, 2013. The text from Morrissey's cell phone at 10:30 p.m. reads, "Hey, buddy, I just [expletive] her on my conference table and again on the floor for good measure!"
Prosecutors said the recipient of the text would also receive a nude photo of the victim, forwarded from Morrissey's phone the next day.
The Commonwealth said Morrissey texted the victim on Aug. 19, 2013, writing, "did I mention how much I like touching your body… I think I've explored most of it but I need a few more hours to make sure!"
Defense lawyers for the Henrico delegate asserted Morrissey and his 17-year-old receptionist never engaged in sexual intercourse when she was underage. The victim has consistently reflected the same assertion since the investigation began in August 2013.
In response to search warrants from Henrico Police detectives, prosecutors said Apple transmitted all of the cell phone and iCloud data from phones belonging to Morrissey and the victim. Records supplied were securely maintained and not altered by Apple.
A Henrico detective assigned to the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force was prepared to testify many of the incriminating sexual text messages were corroborated from multiple sources, including Verizon SMS text message records and screen captures taken by the victim's sister.
On Morrissey's iPhone, 15 other nude and semi-nude photos of the victim were found, according to a detective who was prepared to testify for the prosecution. A summary of the detective's findings also reported that attempts to delete the photos were unsuccessful.
The Henrico Commonwealth Attorney's office wrote the victim's iPod contained an audio recording of the victim and Morrissey eavesdropping on a police interview with the victim's mother. Prosecutors said Morrissey was recorded as he instructs the victim to send her mother a text, telling the mother to leave the police interview.
In a rebuttal, Morrissey's defense said multiple witnesses would have been prepared to testify the lawmaker was not with his receptionist during the time of an alleged sexual encounter on Aug. 20.
"[Morrissey] met with a minister and high-ranking member of the Cuccinelli for Governor Campaign to provide a donation of school backpacks for underprivileged school children," the defense writes. The meeting lasted between 10:15 p.m. and 10:45 p.m., Morrissey's lawyers said.
The defense further contends it would have presented evidence that a friend of the victim sent the text messages and photographs, in order to "set up" the delegate.
Morrissey's theory of the case states the victim's friend was also the 17-year-old's former lover, jealous and then enraged when "she mistakenly believed that Mr. Morrissey and [the victim] were becoming romantically involved."
The victim's friend then "hacked" into Morrissey's iPhone, on a night the victim was in possession of the delegate's phone.
By entering the plea agreement, Morrissey waives his right to an appeal. Although the plea does not concede guilt, Morrissey admits the Commonwealth has enough evidence for a conviction.
Morrissey and the Commonwealth agreed to a sentence of 12 months in jail with six months suspended, conditioned upon five years good behavior. The plea also allows Morrissey to serve in the General Assembly, returning to jail at the end of each workday.
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