RICHMOND, Va. -- Former Richmond police officer was Charles Church was sentenced Friday to life in prison for sex crimes against a child.
In July 2017, Church, 41, was found guilty of one count of object sexual penetration of a victim under the age of 13, one count of sodomy of a victim under the age of 13 and two counts of obstruction of justice.
Charles Church served on the Richmond police force 12 years before he was indicted in May 2017.
The life sentence was recommended by a Richmond jury and is the mandatory punishment for the object sexual penetration charge.
Investigators said Church sexually assaulted a juvenile female under the age of 13 on November 2, 2015. During Church’s three-day trial, forensic experts testified that none of his DNA was found on the body of the alleged victim, but that it was found on a pair of her underwear.
A DNA expert for the defense testified that there could have been another person's DNA on the underwear as well, which would prove their theory that Church's DNA came from his clothes being in the same laundry basket and not sexual contact.
Defense attorneys also told the jury that the girl’s story had changed multiple times, but prosecutors countered and said she was just 11 at the time of the alleged assault, and that children process memories and details differently.
Church was at one point also accused of receiving child pornography which resulted in separate federal charges, but those charges were dismissed after a judge ruled the evidence gathered was obtained through an illegal search.