Man pleads no contest to kidnapping Chesterfield woman

Man pleads no contest to kidnapping Chesterfield woman
Terence L. Harkness

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A man charged with kidnapping a Chesterfield woman in 2017 has pleaded no contest.

Chesterfield police say Terence L. Harkness, 36, sexually and physically assaulted a woman and held her for two days.

Harkness was arrested Sept. 22, 2017, and charged with abduction, kidnapping, assault, battery, possession and transport of firearms by convicted felons, reckless handling of a firearm and use or display of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

The abduction charge was amended to unlawful wounding, and a rape charge was amended to sexual battery. Harkness pleaded no contest to both. He did, however, plead guilty to a gun charge.

Officers say Harkness knew the woman, and the two were in a romantic relationship at one point.

Harkness will be sentenced July 19.

The incident happened around 3 p.m. Sept. 15, 2017, in the area of Oriole Avenue. Officers say when the victim entered the vehicle, Harkness drove to another area, where he threatened and physically attacked her.

She attempted to escape, according to police, but returned to the vehicle when Harkness threatened her. At one point, Harkness sexually assaulted the woman, according to officers.

Officers say Harkness held the victim in the 26000 block of Pear Orchard Road until Sunday afternoon. At one point on Saturday, he drove the woman outside of the county but returned to Pear Orchard Road, according to police.

The woman called a relative to pick her up once Harkness left the area on Sunday, according to officers. Police were also called.

At some point during the two-day incident, Harkness fired shots but not at the victim.

"One in four women will experience domestic and sexual violence in their lifetime," explained, Ryan Morris with the YWCA of Richmond.

The YWCA is committed to helping survivors of sexual and domestic violence, through support and resources.

"We serve survivors who are [at] any stage of the process," said Morris.

Statistics show that 80 percent of sexual assault victims are assaulted by a known acquaintance. Morris says it is important for friends and family to support a survivor of violence, by first believing them and simply being there.

"For survivors of sexual and domestic violence, they really need a solid support system around them including access to our free services, but also the love and support of their family and friends," explained Morris.

The YWCA says there is an extensive support system available in the Richmond area and beyond. They encourage survivors of sexual, domestic and intimate partner violence and their advocates to contact the Greater Richmond Regional Hotline at 804-612-6126 if they are in need of resources or support, someone is available 24/7.

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