PULASKI, Va. — An Oakwood man who served as the aquatics director at a Virginia YMCA in the late 1970s admitted July 19 that evidence is sufficient to convict him of sexually assaulting three girls in the swim program at that time.
Under a plea agreement, Larry Kenneth Crosswhite, 64, who has been in Oakwood since at least the 1990s, entered Alford pleas to eight counts of indecent liberties and one count of unlawful carnal knowledge. An Alford plea allows a defendant to maintain innocence while acknowledging there is sufficient evidence for a finding of guilt.
Crosswhite originally was charged with six counts of indecent liberties and three counts of carnal knowledge, but two of the carnal knowledge charges were amended to indecent liberties under the agreement.
The defendant received one year on each of the indecent liberties convictions and two years on the carnal knowledge conviction. Nine years of the total 10-year sentence were suspended, leaving him with 12 months to serve in jail.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Fleenor said the plea agreement was “the product of a lot of negotiating, with input from the victims.” He said the fact the cases were more than 30 years old posed a problem for the Commonwealth because witnesses die or forget details.
“We felt it was a fair way to resolve it in the end,” Fleenor said, noting that Virginia sentencing guidelines called for a sentence of six to 12 months.
Crosswhite will be placed on three years’ probation upon release from jail, and he is required to register as a sex offender.
At the time of Crosswhite’s arrest in September 2012, Pulaski Police Chief Gary Roche said the incidents involved girls who were 9 to 15 years old at the time of the incidents, which occurred between 1977 and 1979 at the Hensel Eckman YMCA in Pulaski County.
He said a 14-month investigation was initiated when “multiple female victims” reported that Crosswhite sexually abused them when he was their aquatics director.
There is no statute of limitations for felonies in Virginia.
According to Southwest Times archives, Crosswhite was hired as program director of the YMCA in June 1977 to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Anne Waldkirch. He came to Pulaski from Bristol and apparently was a public school teacher before taking the position with the YMCA.