Former Norton, Va. city employee sentenced in federal court
Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable A former Norton city employee is sentenced to two and a half years in federal prison for exchanging sex acts with workers he supervised in a community service program. The charges stem from a guilty plea from former Parks and Recreation Supervisor Mike Lintz on charges of deprivation of rights under color of law and obstruction of justice. Lintz was a designated site administrator for those needing to complete court-ordered community service, but investigators say it became a red flag when Lintz showed up in September 2015 to testify in federal court on behalf of one of the women who worked for him. "Getting character endorsements that were just unusual, and it was the hard work of a case agent who was sitting in that court room who realized something was off and decided to start asking questions about it," Assistant United States Attorney Erin Kulpa said. That is when a federal investigation began. Agents identified at least seven women who came forward claiming Lintz demanded sexual favors in return for required community service hours. "He threatened them that he would send them to jail or ruin their community service, which would result in their jail sentences if they did not comply with his requests for sexual favors," Acting United States Attorney Rick Mountcastle said. In court, there was tearful testimony from one of the victims saying she feared his power in the community kept her and others from reporting the actions. Lintz declined to comment on the case, but his attorney presented a number of letters from community members asking for leniency due to his service working for parks and rec and as a volunteer firefighter. The federal judge acknowledging his service, but said he believes the sentence may have saved other women from becoming victims. Kulpa said, "Giving the pattern of Mr. Lintz's conduct, there was nothing in our investigation that indicated that he would have stopped."
In addition to his prison sentence, Lintz is also required to pay a $10,000 fine. Upon release prison, he will serve three years supervised release. He is also required to complete training designated for sex offenders. There will be another hearing to determine if restitution is judged appropriate.
The U.S. Attorney's Office released a written proffer of facts after the sentencing hearing Tuesday, listed below:
Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTableLintz supervised individuals assigned to perform community service pursuant to a court order, or by referral from a state probation and parole officer. During his employment with the City of Norton, Lintz ensured that he supervised primarily female workers assigned to Parks and Recreation. Lintz monitored the community service time worked by the individuals under his supervision, and reported the hours they worked to state probation and parole officers. If Lintz reported to a state probation officer that an individual did not perform the required number of community service hours, that individual could be violated on their probation conditions and could have to serve time in jail. Lintz used his authority and official position to coerce female community service workers into providing him with sexual favors, the exchange of which he either alluded or explicitly promised could result in favorable outcomes with their court-ordered supervision. Lintz knew that some of these female community service workers could be subjected to jail sentences for failing to perform community service and used that information to his advantage. Specific instances of this conduct are related in more detail below. In July 2015, Lintz began supervising the community service of Female Worker 1 ("FW1"), who was referred by a state probation and parole officer. FW1 had a significant number of community service hours to perform. When FW1 first started working with Lintz, she was told by other female workers that Lintz would be interested in trading sexual favors in exchange for community service hours. Lintz began contacting FW1 about personal matters outside of working hours, calling her and texting her while she was not at work. Lintz made sexual comments on a daily basis to FW1, and gave her a sexual nickname that he called her in front of other community service workers. Lintz showed FW1 pornography on his phone. Lintz took FW1 back to his home on several occasions, and displayed video pornography to her on the television in his home during working hours. Lintz used his authority and official position to coerce FW1 into providing him with sexual favors on three separate occasions, which are detailed below. In or about August 2015, while he was supervising her on community service, Lintz approached FW1 shortly after 4:00 pm, after all other workers had left for the day, to ask her to perform oral sex on him. FW1 agreed, and she performed oral sex on Lintz in the back room of the Parks and Recreation Office. In exchange for this sexual act, FW1 believes Lintz allowed her to claim she had worked one week of community service during a time when she took off to care for an ill family member. In or about August 2015 to September 2015, while he was supervising her on community service, Lintz took FW1 to his home during working hours. He brought her to his carport, closed the blinds, and asked her to perform oral sex on him. Lintz commented to FW1 that he was going to hate to see her finish her community service, as he wanted to engage in oral sex with FW1 every day. Lintz told FW1 that if she continued to engage in oral sex with him, she would finish her community service early. On September 16, 2015, FW1 appeared in federal court in Abingdon, Virginia, on charges of conspiring to distribute a controlled substance. At the request of FW1's mother, Lintz testified as a witness at FW1's detention hearing. Under oath before the United States Magistrate Court, Lintz stated that FW1 had worked all of her hours and testified from the time cards he had completed for FW1. Under oath, Lintz denied having any personal relationship with FW1, and represented himself to be only her community service supervisor. Lintz did not advise the court that he had previous sexual encounters with FW1 in the weeks leading up to his testimony. In releasing FW1 on bond, the Court noted that Lintz's testimony had been particularly persuasive. Within days, Lintz approached FW1 and told her that, if it had not been for his testimony, she would have been in jail. Lintz then asked FW1 for oral sex and FW1 complied, as she felt he was implying she "owed" him for his testimony on her behalf. Lintz did not give FW1 any additional community service hours beyond the 45 hours she initially received.
In August 2015, Lintz began supervising the community service of Female Worker 3 ("FW3"), who was referred by a state probation and parole officer. FW3 had a significant number of community service hours to perform. On one occasion in February 2016, while he was supervising her on community service, Lintz brought FW3 back to his home to watch a pornographic video on his television during working hours. Lintz told FW3 that he wanted to show that particular pornographic video to FW1. While at his home, Lintz told FW3 he would like to show her his genitals, and described what it would be like to have sex with him. Audio recordings captured Lintz making these comments to FW3. On a separate occasion in February 2016, while he was supervising her on community service, Lintz discussed an arrangement with FW3 to exchange sexual favors for falsifying community service hours. Audio recordings captured Lintz making these comments to FW3