STANARDSVILLE — A Ruckersville man was sentenced in Greene County Circuit Court Monday to 75 years in prison for computer solicitation of a minor and possession of child pornography.

Dustin Kramer pleaded guilty March 4 to two counts of computer solicitation of the then 15-year-old victim, one count of possession of child pornography and 12 counts of possession of child pornography, second offense. Prosecutors dropped the remaining four solicitation charges and 18 child porn charges in exchange for the guilty plea.

Kramer will serve 15 years 6 months in prison after Hon. Judge Claude Worrell Jr. suspended 60 years 6 months. He has been at the Central Virginia Regional Jail since his arrest in April 2019 and will get credit for time served.

“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak,” Kramer said to the court. “The last year and change has been a very sobering time for me. I want to apologize for the things that I did … for the pain that I caused (the victim) and her family. I hope for a future, your honor. I put my future in your hands. I accept full responsibility.”

Worrell said, “It’s worth noting your future is not in my hands, it’s within yours.”

Prior to sentencing, Worrell said one thing that struck him about the case was that it often is the most vulnerable who are hurt.

“It’s clear to me that she’s still suffering from things that occurred,” Worrell said.

Worrell also mandated that Kramer have no contact with the victim, register as a sex offender, have five years of supervised probation upon his release as well as 20 years of good behavior, or the remainder of the sentence could be imposed.

The victim’s mother testified that her daughter suffered from anxiety prior to her meeting Kramer in the summer of 2018, but had been in therapy for more than a year and a half. By the fall 2018, the girl was having panic attacks, having night terrors and distancing from her friends, her mother said.

At the emergency room in April 2019, her daughter gave her mother the code to open her phone, her mother testified. It was then that she found a video on the phone of Kramer masturbating.

When asked by defense attorney Michael Hallahan if the girl’s parents had been monitoring her internet activity, the victim’s mother said, “We did not have any reason to think an adult male would be bothering our child on the internet.”

The victim’s father submitted a victim impact statement in writing to the court prior to the sentencing, but did not testify. The victim also did not testify.

Numerous individuals submitted letters in support of Kramer that the defense entered as exhibits. Additionally, five witnesses testified on his behalf, including his mother.

Dr. Harold Bare, pastor of the family’s church, said he’d known Kramer all his life.

“I’ve done prison work in addition to teaching and I’ve probably not seen anyone more readily take responsibility for their actions,” he said.

He said he did not believe Kramer would repeat the behavior if let out.

“Would it surprise you to know that in his version he places most of the blame on the victim?” Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Morgane Zander asked Bare.

Bare said he had not asked Kramer details of the case as he’s not an attorney, but that he felt he was accepting responsibility by pleading guilty.

Tobey Bouch, owner of Tobey’s Pawn Shop in Charlottesville and longtime family friend, was Kramer’s employer at the time of his arrest. Bouch testified that he’d be willing to rehire Kramer to whatever extent he legally could.

“So, knowing the charges you would be OK with hiring him in your store?” Greene County Commonwealth’s Attorney Edwin Consolvo asked.

Bouch said he knows people are capable of a lot of things but he “thinks (Kramer’s) redeemable.”

“I’m struck by many things in this case,” Consolvo said in his closing remarks. “(Kramer) pleaded guilty and yet when I look at the offender’s response of the events I see ‘Whoops, my bad. I should have known better.’ But the defendant requested nude photos and videos over and over and over again. Dustin Kramer saw a vulnerable, young, naïve person that he could manipulate, that he could use to get what he wanted.”

Consolvo said Kramer had told officers he was counseling the victim, and she had contacted him. He said he believed she was a college student.

“He is not a protector. He is a predator,” Consolvo said.

Hallahan told the court that if Kramer had requested the images face-to-face instead of by computer the charges would be misdemeanors.

“He pleaded guilty to 12 felony counts of child pornography, second offense,” Hallahan said. “Under this type of law, that just means the second picture. Mr. Kramer has no criminal history and comes with a large number of supporters.”

Consolvo said that while he agrees the penalties for face-to-face solicitation should carry more time, if the victim had been two months younger the crimes would have come with mandatory minimums.

“These photos and videos, who knows where he put them, who knows who he shared them with,” Consolvo said. “He said, ‘I was trying to help her but she manipulated me with her depression. I tried to break things off.’ He didn’t. He asked for more photos and more videos and what he did was take a young girl that was vulnerable and use manipulation.”

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