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Saturday, June 15, 2024 | Back issues
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Jailed Va. Lawmaker|Faces New Charges

RICHMOND, Va. (CN) - A Virginia lawmaker who was recently re-elected despite being jailed for allegedly having sex with a minor has been indicted on four new felony charges.

Virginia Delegate Joseph D. Morrissey pleaded guilty in December to a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor to avoid related federal charges that he'd had sex with Myrna Pride, a 17-year-old receptionist at his law firm, and carried nude pictures of her on his cell phone.

The Democrat resigned in disgrace, but then ran as an Independent in the special election to fill his seat, defeating challengers from both parties. He continues to represent Henrico County while serving his six-month jail sentence there.

In an indictment unsealed Wednesday, Morrissey was accused of forging a document he presented in court, and of persuading the mother of the teen at the center of the scandal to swear to its authenticity.

Pride's mother, Deirdre Warren, who was also indicted on perjury and forgery charges.

If convicted, Morrissey could face up to 10 years in prison for each charge. He also faces allegations of making false oath in order to obtain a marriage license for a party under 18 years of age.

Warren has been ordered a bench warrant and extradition from her home in Georgia. Her bond is set at $10,000.

During his plea hearing, Morrissey claimed Pride had not been invited to his home for sex but "to speak to him about her father's failure to pay $18,000 in court-ordered child support that was to have been saved for her college expenses."

Spotsylvania County Commonwealth's Attorney William F. Neely says that testimony " now ... proves to be totally false."

"There is no record in the Chesterfield JDR Court file that MP's father was ever ordered to pay child support for MP," Neely said in a written statement.

Neely insists the plea deal "did not cover any new crimes committed by Morrissey."

Morrissey maintains that he did not have sex with Pride despite evidence of nude photos and lascivious texts from his underage secretary. According to court transcripts, Pride lied to Morrissey about her age in order to get a job at his office.

"I'm not guilty of these offenses," said Morrissey in his plea. "I'm entering the ... plea because of a myriad of reasons ... It's a decision I have made and I can move forward."

A trial date on the new charges has been set for Feb. 9.

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