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BOWLING GREEN – A former Bowling Green man will serve 25 years in prison for sexually molesting his 3-year-old daughter and likely will pull additional prison time.
William R. Orpe, 27, pleaded guilty to three charges in Caroline County Circuit Court on Thursday after losing a bid to have his confession tossed out.
Orpe, tall and slim with close-cropped brown hair and a full beard and wearing a white long-sleeved pull-over shirt and dungarees, pleaded guilty to forcible sodomy, object sexual penetration, and aggravated sexual battery.
Judge Joseph Ellis sentenced him to 50 years in prison on each charge; Ellis suspended all the prison time except for 25 years on the charge of forcible sodomy.
Orpe is on probation in Chesapeake and has additional prison time hanging over his head for other previously adjudicated charges, according to Caroline Commonwealth’s Attorney Tony Spencer, who plans to notify authorities in those localities in order that those sentences will be imposed.
After a hearing earlier on a motion by Richmond defense attorney James Bullard to throw out a confession Orpe gave to a Caroline investigator, Ellis dismissed the motion. Spencer and deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Diane Abato were prepared to put Orpe on trial, and Orpe’s daughter now 5, would have testified via closed-circuit television.
According to a summary of the evidence presented by Abato, he sexually assaulted his daughter in the home he shared with his wife, daughter, and son in early 2011. In addition, there was evidence suggesting that Orpe also molested his daughter in 2010.
In early 2011, the mother returned from shopping one day to find her daughter upset because there was chocolate sauce on a favorite blanket. A few months later, the girl described to her mother how Orpe had induced her to perform oral sex on him by putting chocolate sauce on his genitals, according to Abato.
In subsequent interviews with Caroline Sheriff’s Office investigator Marshall Ellett in May of that year, Orpe admitted the sex act and also fondling his daughter, said Abato. He also admitted molesting his daughter three or four times.
Abato also recounted another incident, as reported by the child’s mother, when Orpe took his daughter fishing in 2010. When they returned home, the girl was naked and had an injury to her genitals, said Abato.
The victim has been diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome, said Abato.
The girl’s mother, Brandi Orpe, testified briefly that her daughter is in therapy and will continue to need therapy for years to come. “This has affected my daughter…but it doesn’t stop today,” she said. Her child is doing well in school, she said.
During the earlier hearing on Bullard’s motion to suppress his client’s confession, Ellett described two interviews he had with Orpe at the Pamunkey Regional Jail, where Orpe already was incarcerated on different charges. Ellett, who was accompanied by a Hanover County Sheriff’s investigator, described how the officers identified themselves, displayed identification and badges, and advised Orpe of his legal rights verbally and in writing before questioning him. Ellett made audio recordings of both sessions, and Abato played brief portions of the beginning of both interviews.
He did not realize that Ellett was a law enforcement officer and did not read the documents before signing forms explaining and waiving his legal rights, Orpe testified.
At one point during the initial interview he told Ellett, “ ‘I think I would like an attorney.’ ” However, his statement was not audible on the recording because he spoke so softly, said Orpe. “It’s not on the tape because you can’t hear it.”
“That should have ended the interview right there, judge,” Bullard argued to Ellis.
In her argument asking Ellis to deny the motion, Abato noted that, according to Ellett’s testimony, Orpe never asked for an attorney. Orpe’s testimony was a “confusing and unbelievable story,” she said, and there was “no proof whatsoever” that Orpe had made a clear, unambiguous request to have an attorney present during the interrogation.
Ellis denied the motion, finding that Orpe had not made a statement requesting an attorney. “If it’s inaudible, I don’t know how on God’s green earth” that Ellett could have heard it, he said.