Breaking silence: Dumler to fight charge, stay on Board
Breaking a self-imposed silence, but speaking only through a brief publicist's statement, embattled Albemarle County Supervisor Christopher Dumler vows to stay on the Board and fight the forcible sodomy charge that sent him to jail for two nights.
"I intend to plead not guilty to the charge against me and will offer a vigorous defense," Dumler says in a statement released October 25 by the Payne Ross advertising/public relations agency, which declined to expand on the 123-word release.
Asserting that he intends to "allow the legal process to work," the Dumler statement asserts that while he'll recuse himself from any upcoming votes that could pose a conflict of interest, he will not resign from the Board. He also says he has faith in the American justice system and hasn't tampered with it.
"I have neither requested nor been given special treatment by the officers of the court, city or county officials or law enforcement," Dumler says in the statement.
The 27-year-old lawyer/legislator was arrested on the morning of October 18 and charged with a single count of forcible sodomy, a crime that like other forms of what is widely called rape, is punishable by a minimum five-year prison sentence. Investigators have issued little information on their investigation, other than to confirm that the alleged offense against a woman occurred on October 4.
As news of the arrest reverberated through the County, allegations about the supervisor's behavior began lighting up comment boards at various news sites.
"That's to be expected given the high-profile of the accused," says Hook legal analyst David Heilberg. "There are rumors out there."
Heilberg says, however, that the only thing that will matter to prosecutors is what took place during the incident in question.
"That's the only thing that matters," says Heilberg. "The rest of this stuff is noise. None of it's relevant."
On Wednesday, a day before Dumler's statement, County spokesperson Lee Catlin revealed that Dumler was canceling that evening's town hall meeting with constituents as well as one slated for that Saturday. Asked about Dumler's status, Catlin notes that, other than resignation, state code provides that a Supervisor may be removed from office after all appeals have been exhausted following a felony conviction.
"Obviously, there's a lot of concern," says Catlin, noting that she had no information on whether Dumler would attend the next Board meeting which is slated for November 7. "The Board," she says, "remains focused on doing the best for Albemarle County."
–developing story; last updated (with Heilberg's comment) at 2:14pm on Tuesday the 25th–-Read more on: Christopher Dumler