Portsmouth, VA

Former Portsmouth Police Officer Charged with Rape Pleads Guilty to Lesser Charge

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Photo: Cleshaun CoxWAVY.COM

Cleshaun Cox, is the former Portsmouth Police Department Officer now charged with the rape and abduction of a teenage-aged girl for an incident that took place on May 27, 2019. She was 17 years old at the time. Today, August 12, 2021, he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of carnal knowledge and abduction after his charge of rape was amended in court.

The unidentified teen testified: “I couldn’t even tell if I was even going to come out of the situation alive,” the teenager told a judge in February. “Seriously. I was just thinking in my head the whole time that this is like the movies. Like, this is how the girls die.”

In an alarming discovery, this isn’t the disgraced officer’s first position in law enforcement. Records show Cox worked as a corrections officer at St. Brides Correctional Center from May 2016 until February 2018, according to the Virginia Department of Corrections.

In a truly disturbing testimony, the victim recounts the ordeal (trigger warning-content includes details of rape):

“The teenager testified that she was hanging out with friends in the parking lot of the Westwinds Apartments the evening before the alleged rape. The group was talking and listening to music when two Portsmouth police officers, including Cox, responded to a noise complaint. The officers arrived on the scene in separate police cars, according to her testimony.

The officers asked members of the group for identification. The teenager gave Cox her learner’s permit, which showed that she was 17, according to court records.

The police officers let several boys who were in the group leave the parking lot. They told the teenage driver that she was out past curfew, gave her a verbal warning, and told her and a young adult passenger in her car that they needed to drive home immediately, she testified.

He (Cox) was just filling that into our heads, that if it wasn’t for him we would have been in some big, big trouble,” she testified.

The teenager and her adult passenger left the apartment complex parking lot, driving toward the 17-year old girl’s home where they both planned to spend the night. They were on Interstate-64 when they realized a Portsmouth police officer was following them, according to court records.

The teenager drove off the interstate and stopped to get gas at a 7-Eleven on Victory Boulevard. According to court records, she said that Cox followed her into the store parking lot with his police lights on. Cox yelled at her, and told her she was supposed to go straight home. He watched her pump gas, then got into his police car and followed her from the 7-Eleven to her house, according to her testimony.

Court records state that Cox got out of his police car at the teenager’s home, and that he was upset that her adult passenger was with her. Cox told the teenager to drive her friend to their home, and she became upset and started crying, according to her testimony.

“Because I already knew right then and there that whatever this was was not correct,” she testified. “I knew right then.”

The teenager tried to call a family member as Cox followed her to her friend’s home, according to court records. She was not able to get in touch with the family member. When they arrived, the adult passenger told Cox that she did not want to leave the teenager alone, but he ordered the woman to go into her house, according to the teenager’s testimony.

Then, Cox told the teenager to follow his police car so they could go somewhere to talk. She testified that she followed his orders because he was an on-duty police officer, and she was afraid. He led her to a nearby parking lot, and told her to get out of her car and leave her personal items, like her keys and cellphone, inside of it, according to court records.

“I’m following directions, and I’m listening to what he’s saying. I’m trying to cooperate, but at the same time I’m really emotional,” she testified. “I guess he was getting a little annoyed with me, because he kept telling me to stop crying.”

In the parking lot, Cox allegedly tried to persuade the teenager to have sex with him, according to court records. He told her he knew how she could “resolve” her problems with the noise complaint and being out past curfew, and he presented her with options for how she could have sex with him. He also told her he could write her tickets for issues involving her car, according to court records.

“He was walking around my car saying, ‘I can get you for this. I can get you for that. I can get you for this,'” she testified. “Which made me cry more.”

The teenager told Cox that she did not want to have sex with him and that she was uncomfortable. Court records state that Cox told her to get into his police car. She said she screamed and had an anxiety attack, but ultimately obeyed him. He drove her to another location, near a warehouse, where she said he raped her, according to court records.

“I was just feeling like these were my final moments,” she testified.

Cox allegedly drove the teenager back to her car and told her, “if anybody asks, nothing happened,” according to court records. She testified that she drove back home and reported the rape to a family member.

“He was trying to make it seem as if, if I didn’t do this, I was going to still be in trouble, and if I even told anybody, I was going to be in trouble,” she testified.”

The rape charge was amended in court today and the Commonwealth Attorney said she will not proceed with the abduction with intent to defile charge.

The judge will now decide whether or not to accept his plea during a sentencing hearing in October.

Cox entered a plea for a nine-year sentence out of a maximum 15 years.

He will be back in court for a sentencing hearing on Oct. 7 at 9 a.m.

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