Former trooper accused of sex with minor

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 29, 2008

COURTLAND—A Southampton County grand jury has indicted a former Virginia State Police trooper on charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and having sex with a minor.

James Henry “Hank” Fuller, 29, of Main Street in Boykins, was arrested after turning himself in on Wednesday on two counts of contributing to the delinqency of a minor and one count of having consensual sexual relations with a minor.

He resigned his position on the force following his arrest, according to State Police spokesperson Corinne Geller. Fuller joined the force in February 2002 and was assigned to the Area 34 office, covering Southampton and Isle of Wight counties, following his graduation from the State Police Academy.

Fuller came under investigation early this year, when an 18-year-old Newsoms woman reported that she had been in a consensual relationship with him since 2005, according to an affidavit filed in support of a search warrant.

Special Agent Joshua A. Fannon of the Virginia State Police wrote that the woman had provided two journals in which she had described in detail her relationship with Fuller.

The woman, whose name is being withheld in accordance with The Tidewater News’ policy of protecting the identities of alleged sexual-abuse victims, said she had started the relationship with Fuller when she was 15 and he was 26, the February affidavit states.

During the relationship, she sent photographs of herself in lingerie to Fuller’s cell phones, and he took similar photographs of her at other times, she reportedly told investigators.

The photos were allegedly taken in 2005 and 2006. The victim’s first sexual encounter with Fuller is alleged to have occured in 2005, when she was 15.

The affidavit states that the couple’s relationship ended in January.

Police executed search warrants at Fuller’s Boykins home Feb. 29. They were looking for two cellular phones that were thought to contain explicit photographs of the victim.

After seizing those phones, investigators sought to get warrants that would allow them to search the contents of the phones’ memory cards.

They were searching for “evidence showing images and/or communication involving underage females to include but not limited to call logs, contact lists, text messages, video’s (sic) and photographs, which were saved, deleted, sent or received” from the phones.

From one of the phones, police retrieved two pictures of a female with curly, brown hair in lingerie and a contact list for the victim. On the other, they found a picture of a blonde female underneath a blanket and a call log entry from a call to the victim on Jan. 25. It is unclear whether the pictures are of the same woman.

Geller, from the State Police, said her agency worked on the investigation with the office of the Southampton County Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Cooke on Tuesday convened the county’s grand jury, which found the evidence to be sufficient to issue direct indictments against Fuller.

The State Police declined to comment further on the case. Cooke also declined to comment.

Fuller was released on a $2,500 unsecured bond.

Fuller will be arraigned in Southampton Circuit court on Tuesday.