Robert O. Lawson, a 54-year-old Reedville man was given an active sentence of five years after he pleaded guilty to two charges of aggravated sexual battery and one charge of indecent liberties with a child. Each of the crimes for which Lawson was convicted occurred over 25 years ago when he was in his teens and 20’s.
Lawson was accused of sexually abusing three girls over a 10-year period between the late 1970s’ and the late 1980’s. The girls were between the ages of 4 and 10 or 11 at the time of the abuse. Commonwealth’s Attorney Jane Wrightson said that Lawson had access to the victims through family relationships.
According to Wrightson, one of the women whom Lawson had abused came forward in 2012 to Northumberland law enforcement and described what had happened.
“She said that she decided to come forward because her daughter was 11, which was the age she was when she reported this the first time,” Wrightson said. “She said that she had talked to these other women that she knew and that she thought the other two victims would cooperate with us, and they did, and they described what had happened.”
Wrightson said that they interviewed the three victims to pin down the spans of time in which the particular criminal acts occurred. A series of charges were then filed against Lawson based on the time frames.
Ultimately, the decision was that Wrightson would offer Lawson a plea agreement for three charges, one for each of the women, and Wrightson agreed to not prosecute the other listed charges.
“I talked to all three of the victims and they all agreed that what they wanted out of this was that … he be convicted, that he spend some period of time in jail and there just be some acknowledgment of what he had done to them,” Wrightson said.
Lawson received 30 years altogether with 25 suspended. Once Lawson is released from prison, he will be on indefinite supervised probation. He is required to be on the sex offender registry.
Should Lawson commit any other offenses, the time that is suspended from his sentence can be imposed.