Courtland man gets six months in jail

Published 10:29 am Friday, November 11, 2011

COURTLAND—A Courtland man was sentenced to six months in jail as part of a plea agreement for having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old male.

Thomas Ward, 36, was also given three years probation, and ordered to pay $1,010 in court costs and stay away from the victim during his sentencing in Southampton County Circuit Court on Tuesday.

“I’d like to apologize to everyone involved,” Ward said. “I knew my actions were wrong.”

The victim was two months shy of his 18th birthday and was a willing participant in what Ward’s attorney, Varinder Dhillion, called a consensual act.

“There would be no crime if the victim was 18,” Dhillion said.

Ward’s mother, Shelia Ward, testified her son, who was charged with sodomy, was her primary caregiver since her husband died on Dec. 12. He does the cooking, cleaning and yard work. She also testified that she was afraid to be alone.