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Former Big Stone Gap police officer sentenced to 10 years for child sex crimes

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A former Big Stone Gap police officer was sentenced to 10 years behind bars after he entered an Alford plea to various sexual offenses committed against a child over a two-year period.

An Alford plea is when a defendant admits there was enough evidence to convict him or her in a trial but he or she does not admit guilt.

According to Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Slemp, Oliver Winston Mullins, 32, of Pound, was convicted for aggravated sexual battery and indecent liberties with a child under the age of 15. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison, with 20 years suspended. Mullins must register as a sex offender and will be required to complete 20 years of supervised probation following his release.

Slemp said that in early 2016, the victim reported that she had been sexually assaulted by Mullins to a teacher at school. An investigation revealed that Mullins had inappropriate sexual conduct between March 2014 and April 2016. Evidence showed that Mullins showed porn to the victim. Mullins was a Big Stone Gap police officer at the time.

A week-long jury trial was scheduled to begin in October. Had the case went to trial, the victim would have been forced to testify and endured cross-examination from Mullins's defense attorneys.

"Today's plea serves to further protect this child from the abuse of Mr. Mullins," Slemp said. "A jury trial would have been particularly traumatic for the victim in this case. Younger victims sometimes have difficulty testifying in front of a jury. Forcing this juvenile victim to endure a jury trial, testifying about these types of crimes, serves only to revictimize the child." "Sexual offenses against children are among the most vile and disgusting crimes that we see in court," Slemp added. "My office will continue to aggressively prosecute these cases and seek harsh punishment for anyone who would do harm to a child. We want to thank the hard work of the Virginia State Police, Wise County Department of Social Services, and the Southwest Virginia Children's Advocacy Center for their role in investigating and assisting in the prosecution of the case."

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