Ex-councilman accused of groping woman set for March 7 trial

Published 6:22 pm Wednesday, January 3, 2024

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Ex-Smithfield Town Councilman Wayne Hall will stand trial March 7 for allegedly groping a woman.

Hall faces one count of sexual battery and another count of assault and battery. Both are 

Class 1 misdemeanors, each punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and/or up to a year in jail.

Hall resigned his council seat on Nov. 7, one day after his arrest.

Court documents allege Hall, a former longtime friend of the complainant, entered her Isle of Wight County home on Nov. 3 “under the ruse of seeing what she had done with the house she built” and immediately began grabbing, kissing and groping her.

The alleged victim, in a handwritten criminal complaint, alleged that Hall held her against her will “while he kissed me and felt my breasts” and “tried to go under my shirt” for “several minutes.”

“During that time, he put his tongue in my mouth and was rubbing my body,” the complaint alleges.

According to Isle of Wight County Commonwealth’s Attorney Georgette Phillips, the court has assigned Phillips’ counterpart for the city of Suffolk, Narendra Pleas, as a special prosecutor. Pleas may choose to assign one of her assistant prosecutors to argue the case.

Hall, according to court documents, was originally to stand trial on Dec. 28. Phillips said she didn’t know why the case was delayed to March 7 and Hall’s attorney, Stephen Plott, did not immediately respond to the Times’ request for comments.

Hall, himself a former investigator with the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office, first ran for his Town Council seat in 2018 and was reelected to a second four-year term in 2022. The remaining council members voted at a special Dec. 19 meeting to appoint Jim Collins to fill Hall’s seat until a special election can be held, likely in November 2024.

Hall is the second recently resigned Town Council member to face a criminal charge in three months. Renee Rountree, who resigned her council seat on Dec. 28 after being elected in November to represent the Smithfield-centric District 1 on Isle of Wight County’s Board of Supervisors, was charged in October with receiving stolen property after police found campaign signs belonging to her write-in opponent, Chris Torre, in a crawlspace beneath Rountree’s garage. General District Court Judge Nicole Belote, in a Dec. 14 ruling, deferred a guilty finding conditioned on Rountree completing 250 hours of community service and one year of good behavior. The ruling allows the case against Rountree to be dismissed without her incurring a criminal record provided she completes the mandated service by Dec. 12, 2024.