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Army National Guard recruiter gets 10 years for rape of teen

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. — An Army National Guard recruiter will serve 10 years in prison for raping a teenage girl he was trying to recruit.

Jerry Lee Robinson, 38, of Culpeper was sentenced in Caroline County Circuit Court yesterday to 21 years in prison with 11 years suspended.

He was found guilty of rape, forcible sodomy and misdemeanor sexual battery in August 2011.

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The victim, from Goochland County, was 17 at the time and is 19 now. She testified last year that she met Robinson in June 2010 after she submitted an online application to join the Army National Guard.

At that time, Robinson was a sergeant first class with the Army and worked as a recruiter in the Warrenton office. He had served in Iraq and had received a Purple Heart, among other awards.

At Monday's sentencing, defense attorney Kenneth Crisman put on four witnesses and introduced a psychological evaluation he had done.

Three of those witnesses, including Robinson's wife, said that he suffers from post traumatic stress disorder.

A sergeant who served in the military with Robinson testified that while in Iraq, Robinson was a combat engineer whose job was to clear the roads of improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.

He said Robinson survived close encounters with nine IEDs and a large rocket.

He also told Judge J. Howe Brown that in 1999, Robinson received the Valley Forge Cross for Heroism, one of the National Guard's highest awards, for pulling a 9-year-old girl out of a car that was submerged in 25 feet of water.

Crisman argued that because of PTSD and his service to the country, Robinson should be sentenced to the lower end of the guidelines and serve only five years in prison.

"He should be given some credit for his service, but not that much credit," countered Commonwealth's Attorney Tony Spencer, who said Robinson should serve at least 14 years and four months, which is in the midpoint of the guidelines.

Spencer read a victim impact statement from the teenage girl, who did not appear in court yesterday.

She wrote that ever since the incident, she has had trouble sleeping, trusting people or going anywhere by herself.

She said she is scared to be out in public, had to drop out of high school and now has no desire to go to college.

She wrote that she is terrified of anyone wearing a uniform. Her life plan since she was 11 was to join the military and become a doctor and help wounded soldiers. But that has been crushed, she said.

She testified in August 2011 that she heard from Robinson in June 2010 regarding the application and agreed to meet him at her sister's house in Hanover County to discuss the recruiting process.

She testified that during that conversation, she told him she was concerned about passing the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test, which is required for high school students wanting to enlist. She said he told her that he would personally help her study for it.

After that meeting, Robinson and the teen began to exchange text messages, which included questions like what kind of girl she was and if she had a boyfriend.

The girl testified that on June 28, 2010, Robinson, wearing his uniform and driving a National Guard car, picked her up in Hanover to take her to study at the Randolph-Macon College library.

She testified that she did study a little, but they eventually began kissing.

She testified that he later drove north on U.S. 1 and turned onto a gravel road in Caroline County that led to a deserted field. There, she testified, he forced her to have oral sex and intercourse in the back seat of the car.

She said that he told her he was her boyfriend now and that she should smile, and then he took her back to Hanover. She said they continued to communicate by text message for a few days after the incident.

Investigators got involved after a male friend in Texas told someone in the girl's family that she told him she had been raped.

Hanover County investigators handled the case until it was discovered that the field was in Caroline.

Before pronouncing his sentence, Judge Brown pointed out that all the symptoms the witnesses said Robinson suffers from match what the victim suffers from now.

He said Robinson used his superior strength and position to gain an advantage over the girl.

Robinson's wife, Amanda, wept loudly in the courtroom. She had testified earlier that this incident has affected her family, including their 4-year-old son, who has separation anxiety and won't leave her side because she might "disappear like his dad did."

After Robinson was charged in September 2010, he was removed from active duty and no longer allowed to recruit.

psmith@fredericksburg.com
 

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