NewsLocal News

Actions

Longtime Short Pump teacher charged with rape appears in court

Posted at 2:26 PM, Oct 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-06 18:16:31-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A longtime Short Pump Middle School teacher charged with raping a middle school-aged girl in 2017 had a brief hearing in Henrico County Circuit Court on Wednesday.

Dean Lakey, 60, faces six counts related to the alleged incident, including forcible sodomy and indecent liberties with a minor as a custodian.

Prior to his arrest last month, Lakey had been a teacher and coach for nearly 40 years and is currently on unpaid leave from the school system.

Instead of a trial date being set in court on Wednesday, Lakey's defense attorney, Craig Cooley — who was different than the one he had at his bond hearing — said he was still waiting for the prosecution to hand over its evidence before they decided whether to have a trial by judge or jury.

Prosecutors said they would hand over the evidence in the coming weeks. Another hearing is scheduled for November 4 when a trial date and format will likely be set.

The hearing came one day after the Henrico County Police Chief and Commonwealth's Attorney put out a joint statement about the case. In the statement, they asked anyone with similar experiences with Lakey to come forward.

Commonwealth's Attorney Shannon Taylor spoke after the hearing about the statement said it is their experience and studies have found situations like this can have more than one victim.

"The chief and I definitely saw this as an opportunity to reach out to the community," said Taylor. "We know that the research and past major cases have shown that there's not just one victim. So, what we wanted to do was to let the community know that we are here to listen to receive information."

Taylor said they have received some anonymous tips since the charges were announced, but need people to come forward and identify themselves.

"We want to let everyone know — whether it be the parents of these young people, the young people themselves — to know that we do want to hear what has happened. We will be here to be supportive and give them the support and confidence that they need," added Taylor, who said the call for potential victims extends to more than just the Lakey case. "Any other case where a young person, a boy or girl, who feels like that they have been somehow taken advantage of — we want to listen."

While Lakey did not speak with the media after the hearing, his attorney said "no comment" in relation to Taylor and the chief's statement.

Dr. Christina Mancini, an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at VCU, said it made sense for Taylor to put out the call for more possible victims

"Because, unfortunately, like I said, the more successful perpetrators we do tend to see — it's not just one victim," said Mancini. "I think in a lot of ways, this is a textbook case, should the allegations be true."

Mancini said studies have found that an estimated 10% of K-12 students "will experience school employee sexual misconduct during their school career". She added that one study found an employee could have as many as 73 victims.

"What we know about the perpetrators is they tend to...go against the idea of the unpopular teacher who maybe has personality issues. What we know is that the more successful and — I'm using the term lightly — but the more successful groomers and perpetrators of abuses of kids are the popular ones are the teachers who might have other positions."

Regarding how successful Taylor's call for more victims to come forward may be, Mancini said it is difficult for anyone to come forward and potential difficulties with this case could be the possible young ages of alleged victims and that Lakey is out on bond.

"What should help victims -- we're living in a post- "Me Too" movement, "Me Too" environment. And so, I think, the thought is, 'We believe victims.'," said Mancini. "And so, the fact that law enforcement, the state attorney's office has come forward and asked for additional folks who may have been affected by this to come forward should give the victims some recourse that there is accountability here. It may be a long process, but there are people willing to listen and that want to know, so that we can prevent these types of crimes in the future."