FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:March 8, 2019
Contact: Heather F. WilliamsonCommonwealth’s Attorney’s Office20 East Market StreetLeesburg, VA 20176-2809 (703) 777-0242
INOVA FORENSIC ASSESSMENT AND CONSULTATION TEAM (FACT) ASSISTS IN SECURING CONVICTION OF DOMESTIC ABUSER
JURY SETS SENTENCE AT 27 MONTHS IN JAIL
LEESBURG, Virginia – March 5, 2019. Keith Robert Ruther III, 26, of Sterling, was found guilty this week after a two-day jury trial where he faced charges of Strangulation and Domestic Assault against the mother of his child. As the trial date approached, the victim became less and less cooperative with law enforcement and prosecutors, and ultimately refused to testify or appear at trial. Family members described a history of abuse and control at Ruther’s hands, and as a result within weeks of the attack she was defending her abuser. However, prosecutors were able to admit statements made by Ruther to the victim’s sisters as well as information gathered through an examination conducted by a Forensic Nurse of the INOVA Forensic Assessment and Consultation Team (FACT). As a result, the jury found sufficient evidence to find Ruther guilty and sentenced him to 27 months in jail.
“Absent the results of the neutral Forensic Nurse Examination (FNE), Ruther would probably be back in the community,” said Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Nicole Wittmann. “The presence of the INOVA FACT program and the services they provide have prevented Ruther from his continued abuse of the victim and provided an opening for her to break his cycle of control and violence.”
The INOVA FACT program provides forensically-trained nurses for sexual assault and domestic abuse cases, including strangulation. INOVA recently established a FACT center at the Cornwall location in Loudoun County in early 2018 and as a result, the number of FNEs has more than doubled from prior years. The program provides an extremely important and helpful service for victims of these crimes, helping them understand the gravity of their injuries and providing treatment and safety planning to recover from their abuse.
“The establishment of INOVA’s FACT program in Loudoun County and the services they make available were instrumental in the prosecution of Ruther. The FACT has provided a tremendous impact to the community and to those individuals subject to abuse that we are trying to keep safe,” added Wittmann.
For more information about INOVA’s FACT, go to: https://www.inova.org/inova-in-the-community/fact