SUFFOLK, Va. – A Grand Jury indicted Virginia Delegate Rick Morris Monday on a child cruelty and assault and battery charges.
In September, Morris was accused of physically assaulting his stepson and his wife Kathryn.
The Republican from Suffolk was facing seven felonies and seven misdemeanors for a domestic violence case, his attorney said. The misdemeanors were nolle prossed and only one of Morris’ felony charges still remained against him.
Morris’ attorney said the felony charge remaining against him had to do with allegations he hit his 11-year-old stepson with a belt.
However, a Grand Jury presented three additional indictments in court Monday. Morris is now facing a total of four charges, two felony counts of child cruelty and two misdemeanor counts of assault and battery on a family member.
Morris’ lawyer issued the following statement on Tuesday:
“It is unfortunate that the Hampton Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office has chosen to present direct indictments against Delegate Rick Morris after serious issues were exposed during and following the preliminary hearing. Even though the alleged victim was caught in numerous lies during the course of the preliminary hearing, has informed the prosecutor that he does not wish to testify, and family members, including his mother, have voiced concerns about his complete lack of credibility and how testifying is going to detrimentally affect him, it seems that the prosecutor has chosen to disregard all of those issues. Following presentation of evidence at the preliminary hearing, six of seven felonies were dismissed even with the burden of proof being merely that of probable cause. It is troubling that Delegate Morris will have to defend against charges that are based upon evidence that was previously presented to a judge in a hearing that lasted over six hours and ended with probable cause being established on only one charge. Nonetheless, Delegate Morris will request a trial date as quickly as possible so that he can be vindicated of these charges.”