Circuit Judge Brett Geisler sent 27-year-old Joshua Lantz Cromer to prison for 64 years, five months this week for raping a seven-year-old girl.

Cromer’s excuse for his brutal attack on a young, innocent child? He thought the girls’ father had slept with his girlfriend. He reportedly bragged to the father: “You screwed my girlfriend while I was in jail so I screwed your kid.”

Cromer copped a deal in June that allowed two charges against him to be dropped but that deal did not keep him out of jail for what likely will be the rest of his life.

A forensic nurse told Geisler that the girls’ injuries from the rape were the worst she had ever seen.  The mental damage could be even worse.

It would be nice to think that his horrific crime is an isolated incident in Floyd County.

It’s not.

Sheriff’s Department investigator Steve Graham is working a number of sexual molestation cases involving minors and too many a result of incest.

A Floyd County grand jury earlier this month indicted Arvin Edsel Webb for failure to register as a sex offender, Tyler Landen McMannis on two charges of rape and a charge of animate sexual object penetration and Dylan Wayne Bean of rape, two counts of forcible sodomy and two counts of object sexual penetration.

If you search the Virginia Sexual Offender database, you find 24 in Floyd County, including a grandfather who molested his pre-teen granddaughter and told the judge: “I love my granddaughter. I guess I just love her too much.”  I sat in the Floyd County Circuit Court courtroom in November 2005 when that grandfather made that statement. A gasp went through the courtroom and the look of Judge Ray W. Grubbs’ face was an obvious mixture of shock and disgust.

That grandfather is currently out of prison and on probation. I see him having breakfast in the Blue Ridge Restaurant from time to time.  It takes every amount of self-control that I have to just walk out of the restaurant.

The problem, of course, is not limited to Floyd County. According to statistics compiled by Darkness to Light, a web site that deals with child sexual abuse:

  • 1 in 4 girls is sexually abused before the age of 18.
  • 1 in 6 boys is sexually abused before the age of 18.
  • 1 in 5 children are solicited sexually while on the internet.
  • Nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults (including assaults on adults) occur to children ages 17 and under.
  • An estimated 39 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse exist in America today.
  • 30-40% of victims are abused by a family member.
  • Another 50% are abused by someone outside of the family whom they know and trust.
  • Approximately 40% are abused by older or larger children whom they know.
  • Therefore, only 10% are abused by strangers.
  • The median age for reported abuse is 9 years old.
  • More than 20% of children are sexually abused before the age of 8.
  • Nearly 50% of all victims of forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, and forcible fondling are children under 12.

Josh Cromer is off the street for the next six decades.

But how many more like him are still walking among us?

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