Lebanon, VA – On May 25, 2021, Thomas Scott Gross, a 29-year-old man from Cedar Bluff, Virginia, entered a guilty plea to rape of a child under age thirteen in the Russell County Circuit Court. Following a sentencing hearing on November 23, 2021, Gross was sentenced to 50 years in prison, with 20 years suspended. He will also have to register as sex offender and be on indefinite probation upon his release. The charges stemmed from an incident that occurred between 2014 and 2015. The rape was later reported in July 2019. At the sentencing hearing, the victim’s mother asked the court to impose a life sentence and the Commonwealth’s Attorney adopted that request. Although a life sentence was not imposed, the sentence was above the Virginia Sentencing Guidelines recommendation. Commonwealth’s Attorney Zack Stoots stated, “This is a tragic case in which an adult took advantage of the victim because of age. No child should ever have to endure this abuse and hopefully the sentence imposed will deter further vile acts such as this one.” “We will continue to work jointly with our community partners and citizens to stop the victimization of children in Russell County and bring the perpetrators to justice,” said Sheriff Steve Dye. This investigation was conducted by the Russell County Sheriff's Office, with the assistance of the CARE Center, the Russell County Hospital, and Ultra Health. The case was prosecuted by Chief Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jessica Jackson.
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