By MELINDA WILLIAMS
“A lifetime of good can be ruined by one bad act, and in this case you have two” a judge said Monday to 78-year-old Clarence Ray Chrisley, who admitted in January that he molested two young girls in separate incidents in 2005 and 2012.
Circuit Court Judge Marcus Long Jr. was referring to character witness testimony that Chrisley, of Hiwassee, is “one of the most faithful” members of his church and has been an “excellent” father who “did without so his children could have” more.
Chrisley and his character witnesses, including the victims’ father, testified that Chrisley is remorseful for his actions and has apologized. Judge Long said that may be true, but Chrisley still as an obligation to the state of Virginia for the “heinousness of his crimes” to serve as punishment and a deterrent.
Under state sentencing guidelines, Chrisley faced from two to 60 years in prison, with a mid-range of just over 40 years, for his two counts of aggravated sexual battery of a child under the age of 13. Judge Long sentenced him to 20 years on each count and ordered that the terms run consecutively, for a total of 40 years.
“Justice calls for me to stop there,” Long said after imposing the 40-year term. However, he suspended 33 years, leaving Chrisley with seven years to serve. He denied a request by defense attorney Everett Shockley that Chrisley have until Friday to report to New River Valley Regional Jail.
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