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Appalachia police officer charged with sexual abuse of minor

• Jul 18, 2019 at 5:45 PM

WISE — An Appalachia town police office faces three felony sex abuse charges after his arrest Wednesday by the Virginia State Police.

Benjamin R. Lawson, 46, 1636 Derby Road, Appalachia, remained in the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Abingdon without bail Thursday on three counts of taking indecent liberties with a child by a person in a custodial or supervisory relationship.

According to Lawson’s arrest warrant, VSP Special Agent Jeremy Kite said the female victim said that Lawson got into bed three times with her within an approximately six-week period beginning last December and touched her despite the victim telling him to stop.

Lawson was arraigned Thursday in Wise County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, where the case is being handled.

Each charge is a class 6 felony under Virginia law for a first offense.

Appalachia Town Manager Fred Luntsford Jr. confirmed Thursday that Lawson is a town police officer.

“It has been made known to me by the town attorney that Lawson was arrested,” Luntsford said. “Mr. Lawson has been suspended without pay pending completion of the State Police investigation.”

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