Judge recuses himself in Epperly case
A Christiansburg man who owned a local gymnastics center is now scheduled to appear in court next month to face sexual misconduct charges.
Kenneth Austin Epperly, 64, faces a total of three charges related to alleged incidents with children at New River Valley Gymnastics/Epperly Elite Training Center, a Christiansburg business owned and operated by the Epperly family.
Epperly will appear in court Aug. 15 on two charges of aggravated sexual battery and one charge of indecent liberties. His case was scheduled for last week but was continued.
According to Montgomery County Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary Pettitt, Circuit Court Judge Marc Long has decided to recuse himself from the case, so the August court date will depend on whether another judge is available to hear the case. Long had heard a preliminary hearing related to the case when he was a juvenile and domestic relations judge, so he felt it prudent to have a different judge hear the current allegations in circuit court, Pettitt said. Long became a circuit court judge this month.
According to arrest warrants filed last year, Epperly was accused of exposing his genitals to two girls younger than 6 at the training center and was then charged with two counts of taking indecent liberties with a child.
According to search warrant affidavits, a woman called Christiansburg police last summer and said her daughter, who attends New River Valley Gymnastics, told her that Epperly “had touched her between her legs in his office and in the bathroom.” Another woman reported that her daughter told her that a man followed her into the bathroom in his office during a sleepover at the center on April 15. The girl told her mother that the man watched her, then exposed himself and urinated in front of her, the affidavit says.
Epperly is free on a $100,000 secured bond. As part of that, he is to remain in Virginia and is barred from having contact with any child under 18. Long mandated earlier that Epperly only have supervised contact with his two elementary school aged grandchildren, who live next door to him.
Epperly’s attorney, Jimmy Turk, said it’d be premature to comment on the case and noted that he may have motions he’d like to file prior to the trial.
Phone lines listed for the gymnastics center and Epperly residence are disconnected.
The Roanoke Times | 381-1665
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