FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. - A federal lawsuit has been filed against Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano after a plea deal in a child sex crimes case.
In the September case, the suspect confessed to sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy, but the case fell apart after the prosecutor missed the court-ordered deadline to turn in evidence.
The lawsuit, filed by the boy’s mother, Amber, alleges a civil rights violation and says that her child has suffered "severe emotional distress and fears for his physical safety."
"I want them to be held accountable for their actions,"Amber said. "[And] for not being able to get the justice my son deserved."
The suspect in the case, Ronnie Reel, was indicted on charges of sodomy and aggravated sexual assault and was facing life in prison. But after the prosecutor missed the judge’s discovery deadline, the judge barred most of the evidence and witnesses from trial. Reel was offered a plea deal for misdemeanor assault and battery and freed on time served.
"We have to deal with feeling like we’re in danger," Amber said.
Reel was rearrested on a probation violation on a Stafford County grand larceny case and at a hearing this Friday it will be determined how long he’ll be locked up. When he’s out again, he won’t have to register as a sex offender.
"We won’t know where he’s at. We won’t know when he’s going to get out," Amber said. "On top of that, there’s other kids out there. He’s going to move into a neighborhood. What if there’s a school down the road?"
Amber says the plea deal in the case also means her son doesn’t qualify for county services for sex assault survivors.
Descano’s office told us the judge’s actions were "confounding and inconsistent with precedent," but the lawsuit points to another child sex crimes case where the discovery was late, and the case was dismissed. The man in that case, Alex Joshy, was charged with computer solicitation and attempted indecent liberties with a minor.
FOX 5 reached out to Descano’s office for a statement and the second case referenced in the suit.
In an emailed statement, spokeswoman Laura Birnbaum said: "The CA’s office handles thousands of cases per year and we’ve instituted policies to ensure our prosecutors meet our high standard of professionalism and seek the best outcome for victims."