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Saunders sentenced to 350 years

A 53-year-old Dillwyn man who faced 59 felonies and 11 misdemeanors surrounding the alleged sexual abuse of two minors was sentenced to 350 years in jail May 24 in Buckingham Circuit Court.

Richard Saunders

According to court documents and the Buckingham Circuit Court Clerk’s Office, Richard Wayne Saunders will spend an active sentence of 25 years in jail; 325 years of the sentence were suspended.

According to court documents, Saunders was directly indicted by a grand jury on five of the 70 charges in June 2015 and indicted on the other 65 in mid-September of the same year.

The charges included sodomy, incest, aggravated sexual battery and child pornography.

According to the Virginia Circuit Court Case Information System, Saunders pled guilty to seven of the charges which include sodomy, object sexual penetration: by force and indecent act with a child by parent.

He was not prosecuted on the remainder of the charges.

Saunders was sentenced with 10 years on one of the sodomy charges, 10 years on the indecent act charge and five years on the object sexual penetration charges.

The sentence includes probationary time.

“The sheriff’s office received a call of a sexual abuse of a minor on … May 25, (2015)” said A.R. Taylor, an investigator with the Buckingham Sheriff’s Office during a previous interview.

“He was originally arrested and charged on arrest warrants on that date related (to) sexual abuse of a minor that had been ongoing the previous month,” Taylor said.

As the investigation continued, he said, “we executed several search warrants at his residence as well as on some computer records and electronic records, and as a result of all the search warrants related to the first incident there was another series of incidents discovered going back eight years.”

After law enforcement authorities searched the content of some of Saunders’ electronics, “that’s when he was indicted on all the charges that are now pending,” Taylor previously said.

Two victims are associated with the charges, Taylor said. One is an adult who was a minor when the crimes were allegedly committed, and the other is a 14-year-old, he said.

“As a result of the initial investigation, I executed a search and seizure warrant for electronics, and we seized some electronic equipment that was his … When we did a search warrant for the content, we found a plethora of information in there which allowed us to charge him (with) the child pornography charges as well as some of the other incidents. …,” Taylor said.