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80 years given for online exposure
Jury gives man 80 years for exposing himself online


Date published: 9/9/2010

BY KEITH EPPS

A Stafford jury last night recommended an 80-year prison term for a man who repeatedly exposed himself on his webcam to viewers he thought were young teenage girls.

Ernest Donald Washington, 60, of Norfolk was convicted of 11 charges, including multiple counts of attempted indecent liberties and using a computer to solicit children. He will be formally sentenced Tuesday by Judge J. Howe Brown.

The teenage girls Washington thought he was performing for were actually Stafford Detective Darryl Wells. Wells is frequently on the Internet searching for predators by pretending to be a teenage child.

Wells testified that he was in Yahoo chat room posing as a 13-year-old girl named Mandy on Oct. 5, 2008, when he was first contacted by Washington. He said Washington, exposed himself during that first chat.

When Washington asked "Mandy" if she had any friends who'd like to see him, Wells portrayed a second girl, this one a 14-year-old named Summer. Washington contacted both girls over the next several months, exposing himself and making sexually suggestive comments.

The jury saw a video of Washington in action, including at least one in which he showed his face. Prosecutor Teresa Polinske said Washington's actions were "disgusting, but they are also criminal."

Defense attorney Vernon Keeve put on no evidence, but argued that the prosecution had not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt. He suggested that Washington, who is married and is a deacon in his church, was "role-playing" with someone he thought was an adult.

Polinske pointed out that Washington stated in his online profile that he likes watching young children. "He also likes young children to watch him" Polinske said.

Prior to the jury trial, Washington rejected a plea agreement in which he would have pled guilty to fewer charges and gotten a much lesser sentence.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404
Email: kepps@freelancestar.com