Records of the police investigation that forced Ed Barber to plead guilty to two counts of misdemeanor sexual battery against his teenage stepdaughter are off-limits, Chesterfield County Police officials say.
Lawyers for Barber's stepdaughter are attempting to gain access to the police records in the case. Their subpoena is part a $7.3 million civil lawsuit filed by the victim against Barber, the former chairman of the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors.
The Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court has sealed many of the records related to the case. To date, very few details have emerged.
"This really has to be about getting to the truth," says defense attorney David Hicks, who is representing Barber's stepdaughter with Richmond attorney Whitney Tymas and Culpeper attorney J. Michael Sharman. "There are all these rumors about different things," Hicks says. "We have a right to know what was known."
County police have filed a motion to quash the lawyers' subpoena for the records, which caught Hicks, a former Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney, off guard.
Lt. Col. Andy Scruggs of Chesterfield Police says the county always resists attempts to gain access to its investigative records. "There is always some information in there might not be appropriate," Scruggs says.
Barber, who resides at 8828 Gem St. in Midlothian, didn't return a message left at the address. Barber is living at the home of former county schoolteacher Linda Vess, according to the state police sex offender registry.
In the weeks leading up to Barber's conviction in June, county police had gathered evidence of pornography on a computer seized at Barber's home after his arrest Dec. 29, 2005, police sources say. Police were prepared to go forward with additional investigation into the pornography, but agreed to not continue the investigation as part of Barber's guilty plea.
Much in the case hasn't come to light, according to Hicks, who says the case is also about empowering the victim, giving her some control over her abuser.
Others, however, say Barber has been prosecuted enough.
"I'm sad. This is not good for anybody. I'm sad for the victim. I'm sad for the family," says Bishop Gerald O. Glenn, pastor of New Deliverance Evangelistic Church in Chesterfield, where Barber is a longtime member. Glenn says Barber and his family were in attendance Easter Sunday.
"I mean, I wonder how many times can you kill a guy? Ed Barber has virtually been destroyed," Glenn says. "He and I were not dinner buddies, I don't owe him anything. I just a think a modicum of compassion should be extended. He's living with a catastrophic episode every day of his life." S