Democratic Virginia Del. Joe Morrissey, a controversial legislator and lawyer in the Old Dominion, now faces charges that he had sex with a minor at least twice in his law office, possesses pornographic images of an underage female and solicited others to obtain even more such images.
Indictments handed down by a special grand jury in Henrico Monday indicted Morrissey on five charges and, if convicted, the state delegate since 2008 faces up to 40 years in prison.
Morrissey is also a former Commonwealth’s Attorney in Richmond and faces arraignment before retired Circuit Judge Martin Bass, who was appointed by the state Supreme Court to oversee the grand jury’s look in the legislator’s illegal activities.
The case began months ago when police were asked to check into the welfare of a 17-year-old girl who was found in Morrissey’s town house and working in his office as a “legal secretary.”
When confronted by police, Morrissey claimed the woman had lied about her age, claiming she was 22. Anthony Troy, Morrissey’s lawyer and a former state attorney general, claimed the young woman and the state delegate had an “appropriate relationship.”
Special prosecutor William Needy disagrees.
“He had sex with her twice in his law office and texted someone about it,” Neely says.
Troy claims both the young woman, her mother and her grandmother have testified that no sexual encounters took place and described Morrissey as “a consummate gentleman.”
Morrissey is a high-profile defense lawyer used ot generating headlines. He and another lawyer engaged in a courthouse fistfight in 1991 and his law license was suspended in 2000 but reinstated by the Virginia Supreme Court in 2012.
Other associated describe Morrissey as a “rounder” and “high liver” who “likes to have a good time.”
If convicted, some of those good times could land him in prison.
(This article includes material from Bill McKelway of The Richmond Times Dispatch)