A 42-year-old Indian Valley man who called his multiple sexual assaults on an elementary school girl when she was 12 and 13 “love, not rape” will spend the rest of his life in prison, serving six life terms for his assaults.
Four of the life sentences against Richard Earl Bishop II were mandatory under Virginia law because his victim was 12. The Floyd County jury that convicted him in March had a choice on the other two with a sentence from 20 years to life. The jury took less than 15 minutes to choose life.
“This is an heinous crime and a heinous act,” Circuit Judge Marc Long told Bishop in his sentencing on Tuesday. The judge said it “took a lot of courage to testfify” and said “she will never recover.”
Bishop claimed he was the victim because the criminal justice system, he said, did not understand what he called “the true” nature of his relationship with the girl. He claimed the girl was “force to lie” about their love.
“There’s something wrong with the system,” Bishop claimed. “I’ve never been so disappointed in the justice system. I think my rights under the Constitution and my civil rights have been violated. Politics played a role in this.”
Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Branscom said it was the young victim’s rights that were violated by Bishop. He said the jury declared that Bishop’s victimization of her “will not be tolerated in Floyd County.”
Bishop’s sexual violations of a young girl is, sadly, not unique, even in a rural area like Floyd County. In the last decade of covering courts here, I have watched a grandfather admit sexual assault on his granddaughter. His rationale: “I loved my granddaughter,” he told the judge. “I guess I loved her too much.”
In another case, the grandfather of a boy who assaulted his younger and underage sister told the judge that “he’s just a boy with hormones. That’s not unusual for young boys.”
Sexual predators have lured young girls away from their homes by using the Internet. A Farm Credit director distributed child pornography. So did a recent graduate from Floyd County High School.