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Former Culpeper mayor found guilty of sexual battery

Chip Coleman outside Raven's Nest during a happier time.
Former Culpeper Mayor Calvin “Chip” Coleman was found guilty of Sexual Battery, a misdemeanor and sentenced to a suspended 10-day jail sentence and $2500 fine for the offense.

The trial lasted more than three hours in the Culpeper General District Court ending after 7 p.m.

Five witnesses including Jennifer Phillips, 36, the employee at the Culpeper Department of Social Services who made the accusation against Coleman, testified for the Commonwealth. Coleman’s attorney, Rex Edwards, called five witnesses on his behalf, including Phillips.

Coleman did not take the stand.

Phillips testified that Coleman hugged her on Dec. 20th of last year and that the hug began to make her uncomfortable to the point that she called out for help. By her estimation, the hug lasted approximately seven seconds.

Judge Carpenter excluded evidence of bias on the part of Phillips offered by Coleman’s attorney.

The parties left the courtroom immediately after the verdict was handed down.

“Mr. Coleman maintains his innocence. He is disappointed that the Court elected not to accept the testimony of the numerous witnesses who contradicted the allegations set forth by his former employee. He appreciates the overwhelming support that he has received from his family, friends and community at large,” Coleman said in a prepared statement released by his attorney Rex Edwards.

Coleman has 10 days to decide whether he will appeal the decision to the Circuit Court.

Culpeper Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Jonathan Slater prosecuted the case. Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Angela Catlett did not participate but observed the proceedings.

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