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Alleged victim asks court to reject plea deal for psychotherapist accused of sex crimes

Harden 2.jpeg
Posted at 5:44 PM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-23 16:40:12-05

NEW KENT COUNTY, Va. -- Lawyers representing the alleged teen victim of a former Cumberland Hospital psychotherapist charged with sex crimes against, are asking a New Kent County court to reject a plea deal set to be heard Monday.

The law firm Breit Cantor filed a victim’s opposition to plea agreement on February 15.

It graphically details months of abuse they allege by Hershel Mickey Harden while he was caring for their client who is referred to as “RH.”

They say RH was abused on over 100 separate occasions as a patient at the hospital in 2018 under Harden’s care. The firm argues the Attorney General’s office failed to adequately charge Harden and that RH had a right to be heard.

Last February, Harden was charged with two felony counts of object sexual penetration by force.

CBS 6 has learned Harden will plead guilty to one count which carries a max sentence of life in prison. The judge will make that determination at sentencing at a later date if he accepts the plea agreement.

The other charge will be nolle prossed, meaning the charges are dismissed but can be brought back at a later date.

Attorneys argue the court should reject the agreement because “it diminishes the Defendant’s crimes, discounts the impact on her life and is not in the public interest.”

The law firm representing the accuser in this case recently filed $127 million lawsuit against Cumberland Hospital, on behalf of 20 former patients who claim they suffered abuse there.

CBS 6 reached out to the Attorney General's office for comment on the victim’s opposition to the plea agreement and the law firm's criticism of the AG’s office.

Office of the Attorney General Press Secretary Charlotte Gomer sent CBS 6 a statement via email:

"Every case we pursue is about securing justice on behalf of victims and accountability for those who break the law and hurt people, especially victims who may be more vulnerable," Gomer wrote. "In each one of these cases, we ensure that the rights of the victim are honored in accordance with both the letter and the spirit of the law, and that victims’ voices can be heard in accordance with their wishes."