A man whose two dates with a Fredericksburg woman led to him being convicted of sex crimes was ordered Monday to serve 38 years in prison.
Michael Andrew Peterson, 30, of Alexandria was previously convicted of seven charges in Fredericksburg Circuit Court, including rape, two counts of sodomy and distributing drugs.
The jury recommended a 60-year prison sentence for Peterson. Judge Sarah Deneke Monday gave Peterson the same sentences the jury suggested, but allowed some of them to run concurrently, leaving Peterson with 38 years to serve.
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Peterson and the victim met on social media in June 2017. They communicated for a couple of weeks by phone calls, text messages and Facebook before meeting in person for the first time at a motel in Loudoun County.
They had consensual sex immediately before going to various bars. They began having sex again after returning to the motel room before getting into an argument and going to sleep.
The woman claimed that Peterson raped her the next morning, but did not report the incident to police.
The woman, who is currently in jail in Loudoun County on a felony traffic conviction, continued to communicate with Peterson and invited him to her home on Cowan Boulevard on Aug. 14, 2017. The woman claimed she rescinded the invitation, but Peterson showed up anyway.
Asked by police why she would invite a man to her home after an alleged rape, the woman said she was lonely and suffered from low self-esteem.
She said they had consensual sex initially, but Peterson later drugged her using a syringe before raping and sodomizing her while her children were in the home. Fredericksburg police were called the next day after the woman’s friend came to her home and determined that something wasn’t right.
An officer heard the victim yelling for help and saw Peterson holding her down on a mattress. Peterson claimed he was using a “calm down” method on the woman.
Prosecutor Kevin Gross Monday urged Deneke to give Peterson the entire 60 years. He said Peterson targeted a “broken, battered” woman who would not have reported his abuse had her friend not come by.
Gross called Peterson a sociopath and said a phone call he made to the victim eight months after the incident in which he expressed his love for her showed he is “either a complete nut or a great manipulator.”
Defense attorney Ghislaine Storr Burks disputed Gross’ characterization of her client as a sociopath and said he maintains his innocence. “It was an odd situation,” Storr Burks said. “Two people with mental health and substance abuse issues was a recipe for disaster.”
In a statement just before his sentence was pronounced, Peterson again proclaimed his innocence and told Deneke he was sorry she had to be in court Monday. “I can be a great, productive member of society,” Peterson said. “I want to shine again.”