Bail set: Dumler must raise $50K and forfeit alcohol
As he did a day earlier, County Supervisor-turned-felony arrestee Christopher Dumler shifted uneasily in his chair and mustered an approximation of a smile as he stared into a video camera at the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail to hear whether he'd win bail in General District Court. Judge William Barkley was presented an agreement by defense and prosecution to let Dumler go free on a $50,000 secured bond.
Appearing unshaven and dressed in a striped jailhouse jumpsuit, instead of the slacks and blazers that are the 27-year-old lawyer/legislator's usual attire, Dumler began the October 19 hearing looking down. However, he concluded by holding his chin high while still seeming uncomfortable nearly 35 hours after his arrest on a forcible sodomy charge.
"The court's going to accept the agreement," said Judge Barkley, ticking off the list of conditions under which Dumler can go free: no alcohol consumption, no leaving the state without permission, no possession of a firearm (including turning in his concealed weapon permit), and no contact with the alleged victim or her family.
Court records indicate that the woman, identified on the arrest warrant only by her initials, has essentially asserted that Dumler raped her anally. It's a charge that just doesn't resonate with at least one of Dumler's friends.
Chris Kyle, the lead owner of a new Scottsville brewery that opened in September and where Dumler recently participated in a charity bartender event, says that Dumler is one of James River Brewing's 38 shareholders and that nothing about the allegation matches Dumler's track record of professional work and community service.
"He's done a lot of good down here," says Kyle, a rising vice-president of Scottsville's chamber of commerce who attended the Friday morning bail hearing in downtown Charlottesville.
"This is not the Chris that I know," says Kyle, nodding as some of Dumler's accomplishments– lawyer, Eagle Scout, Army Reservist, volunteer firefighter, as well as recently-elected member of Albemarle's six-member governing board– are mentioned.
In court on October 19, the two legal teams in the case were revealed. Andrew Sneathern is representing Dumler, while Fluvanna County Commonwealth's Attorney Jeff Haislip has been tapped to prosecute.
"My main goal, since I've only been involved for 24 hours, is to meet with investigators and meet with the victim," Haislip said after the conclusion of the brief hearing. Sneathern walked away without answering any questions.
Virginia law criminalizes forcible sodomy the same way it criminalizes vaginal rape: with a five-year minimum prison term.
The court set a preliminary hearing for December 13.
"Let's wait and see what happens," says Dumler's friend Kyle. "We'll have to see how the facts fall."
Avoiding any discussion of the criminal charges facing her friend and political ally, political operative Cynthia Neff explains why she put her house up as security to get arrested Albemarle County Supervisor Christopher Dumler out of jail. She says she wants Dumler to get back to work on County issues, as well as at his legal practice.
"Chris doesn't make much money," says Neff, "and I just didn't think sitting in jail was the right answer."
–story updated at 11:35am on October 23Read more on: Christopher Dumler