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Victims react differently to therapist’s death

Posted on Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Some victims who were abused by Scott Gordon Henry, 67, of Richmond, said they would pray for the former licensed therapist after hearing he had died after hanging himself.

Henry was serving time at Pamunkey Regional Jail for sexually abusing his patients and he died in a hospital on Oct. 6. Seven patients told authorities they were his victims.

Victim reactions ranged “from being shocked by the fact that he is no longer with us to relief,” said Cindy Gatewood, director of the Caroline County Victim/Witness Assistance Program of the Caroline Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. “Some victims felt a little guilt and that is something a few deal with all the time. Then there were some who wanted to pray for him.

“Some were angry because of the fact that he would not live to complete his sentence,” Gatewood added. “More were disappointed at the fact that he had passed away and that no matter what, they never wished him dead. Some are still processing it.”

He used a bed sheet to hang himself, but workers at Pamunkey Regional Jail revived him and he was taken to a hospital, said Diane Abato, Caroline’s deputy commonwealth’s attorney, who prosecuted his case. He was placed on life-support in the hospital, but died a few days later.

Henry was a therapist for the Rappahannock Area Community Services Board. He pleaded guilty in June to sexually abusing two children and a mentally handicapped adult who were his patients.

The Virginia Department of Corrections has a program in which victims of crimes can be notified when the perpetrator is released from prison, escapes, changes his name, is transferred from one facility to another or if the person dies in prison, Gatewood said.

The victim/witness programs helps victims, especially those in crises. “Our goal is to make them aware of what’s going on and allow them to share their emotions. We help them work through what they’re going through.”

Henry pleaded guilty to four charges: three charges of aggravated sexual battery and one charge of taking indecent liberties. He was sentenced to a combined total of 65 years in prison, but the judge suspended 52 years. Henry would have served an active sentence of 13 years.

He was charged with 13 counts of aggravated sexual battery and 12 counts of indecent liberties involving seven victims, but some of those charges were withdrawn in the plea agreement.

After Henry’s trial, Commonwealth’s Attorney Tony Spencer said Henry was “in very bad health,” adding that the 13 year active sentence would probably be “a life sentence for him.”

While incarcerated and awaiting his trial, Henry had passed out and fallen and sustained a cut on his head that required 12 stitches.

The crimes occurred between Jan. 1, 2003 and Jan. 1, 2004 and Jan. 1, 2007 and Jan. 1, 2008. Henry worked at the board’s clinic at 19254 Rogers Clark Blvd. in Ruther Glen, across from Caroline High School.