(AP) A flamboyant Virginia legislator who made a plea in a teen sex case Friday said he will wait to decide on his political future.
Del. Joseph Dee Morrissey, D-Henrico, spoke after attending church services Sunday in Richmond.
Morrissey said he was “disappointed” that Gov. Terry McAuliffe and other legislative leaders urged him to resign, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.
Morrissey entered an Alford plea Friday to a misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. In an Alford plea, a defendant acknowledges there’s sufficient evidence for a conviction but doesn’t admit guilt.
Morrissey was sentenced to 12 months in jail with six suspended. His attorney, Anthony Troy, said Morrissey will ultimately serve three months and will be in a work-release program that would allow him to continue his work as a legislator and a lawyer.
According to prosecutors, Morrissey and a 17-year-old girl who worked for him as a receptionist had sex multiple times at his law office in August 2013 and texted their friends about it. Morrissey, 57, also procured a nude photo of the girl “to help him fantasize about their next encounter,” according to special prosecutor William Neely, and sent the picture to a friend.
Morrissey has vehemently denied the allegations and claimed his cellphone was hacked.
A Henrico County Circuit Court special grand jury was convened after police, called by a man to check on the welfare of his teenage daughter, found the girl with Morrissey at the legislator’s home.
Troy said at the time that the girl had gone to her boss’s home for advice about family problems, and there was nothing inappropriate about the relationship. The girl also denied any impropriety.
During a tumultuous career as a defense lawyer and prosecutor, Morrissey has been cited for contempt of court 10 times and forcibly detained or jailed five times.
He’s also one of Virginia’s most outspoken legislators, known for passionate and sometimes theatrical floor speeches.
The state Supreme Court reinstated his law license with certain restrictions in 2011, eight years after it had been revoked by the state bar for failing to tell clients that the license had been suspended for a conviction involving a fight with a building contractor.