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Virginia Supreme Court takes up child sex solicitation case of former Liberty professor
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Virginia Supreme Court takes up child sex solicitation case of former Liberty professor

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The Supreme Court of Virginia has agreed to hear the case of a former Liberty University professor who was convicted of soliciting sex from a minor — in actuality, an undercover cop posing as a teenager.

Stephen James Kilpatrick, 66, of Forest, was sentenced in 2019 to 33 years on his five convictions. His case was overturned by the Virginia Court of Appeals in a May decision.

He had communicated for around seven months with an undercover law enforcement officer posing as a 13-year-old girl named “Jenny,” holding sexual conversations and referencing her age and youthfulness, according to evidence presented at trial.

Officers planned a takedown in June 17, setting up a meeting at “Jenny’s” neighborhood in Forest, investigators said. Kilpatrick arrived there with lubrication and cookies and was arrested.

Appeals judges considered expert testimony Kilpatrick was going to introduce at trial insisting he isn’t a pedophile and lacked motive to engage in sexual activity with someone claiming to be a 13-year-old girl named “Jenny.” Bedford Circuit Judge James Updike refused to allow that testimony at trial.

Kilpatrick claimed at trial he never believed he was speaking to a 13-year-old girl, merely someone taking on that persona for sexual roleplay. The appeals court found that his expert testimony wouldn’t have violated case law and would’ve been relevant to his defense, so it overturned the conviction.

Virginia prosecutors have appealed that decision up to the highest level in early June, court records indicate, and the Virginia Supreme Court has agreed to take up the case.

— Rachel Mahoney

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