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Former Police Officer Sentenced for Forcible Sodomy of Ex-Girlfriend

James Summers, a former police officer and firefighter in Fairfax County, will likely appeal the verdict.

James Summers. Photo credit: PWCPD
James Summers. Photo credit: PWCPD
By Mary Stachyra Lopez

A former Fairfax County police officer and firefighter was sentenced in a packed courtroom Friday to serve a five year-prison term after he was convicted of forcibly sodomizing his ex-girlfriend.

James Craig Summers, 56, a Burke resident who served with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department for over 30 years before he became a police officer, received a 7-year prison term, with two years suspended. His attorney, Ghislaine Storr Burks, indicated in court that she would lodge an appeal of the jury's verdict. 

The victim had testified during Summers' trial last April that on one night in 2009 while she was dating Summers, he had grabbed her arm, twisted it around her back and handcuffed her. He then forcibly anally sodomized her, despite her pleas for him to stop, she said. The victim said that she had not reported the attack, which took place in the Manassas area, for two and a half years out of fear that Summers would retaliate.

"She is never going to be the same," Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Kristina Robinson said of the victim. "What happened to her will always be with her." 

Summers—who in the trial admitted having affairs before and after the relationship ended—maintained his innocence.

"I'm not the man I was characterized as last April," he said, but apologized to the victim for his behavior during that time. 

"My actions were disrespectful and not honorable," Summers said. 

The sentencing had seemed to those who knew Summers as an unlikely end to an otherwise apparently untarnished career. Two dozen of Summers' longtime friends, coworkers and family members—including his ex-wife—submitted letters to Farris on his behalf before the sentencing. They said the accusation was nothing like the man they knew, who served as a chaplain in the Fire and Rescue Department near the end of his employment there, and helped found Harvest Bible Chapel in Fairfax. 

But at Summers' trial, Robinson called him a "manipulative personality," and "a liar and a cheat" who had managed to deceive both his wife and friends about his true behavior. 

Judge Lon Farris upheld the jury's recommendation of seven years, and ordered Summers to have no contact with the victim. He also ordered that Summers reimburse her for up to $5,000 costs for counseling. 
Dale G Dunn August 03, 2013 at 01:40 PM
“…managed to deceive both his wife and friends…” for over 50 years!? Ridiculous. This case is a travesty. It’s shameful that a good man and long-time community servant will spend 5 years in prison based entirely on an incredulous tale.
Greg Lear August 03, 2013 at 04:01 PM
The article did not mention the fact that the "victim" remained in an intimate relationship with this man long after the alleged assault. You may not want to report a crime for fear of retaliation, but you surely don't try to remain in a relationship with someone who committed the crime. Again, Ridiculous.
Eric Lamar August 03, 2013 at 05:49 PM
Both Mr. Dunn and Mr. Lear make key points: just how likely is it that someone lives the kind of life Craig Summers has randomly commits such a heinous act at age 56? If you as an adult were forced to engage in a sexual act would you then remain in a consensual sexual relationship with that partner? And, would you wait some 30 months before offhandedly reporting the alleged activity in the context of another matter? The Commonwealth of Virginia and especially Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Kristina Robinson are arch villains in attempting to destroy Craig Summers. Robinson crafted the fantasy which masqueraded as their version of truth and justice. (May she one day enjoy such a contorted and bitter version of justice.) Craig Summers will survive all of this and he should begin by remembering that like all of us he is first human, capable of making errors and sometimes being less than he would like. In the cast of human characters Craig Summers is a deeply honorable and trustworthy person waylaid by unscrupulous and zealous partisans bent on an act of wholly gratuitous, indeed essentially obscene, destruction.
Denny August 03, 2013 at 08:23 PM
As Paul Harvey would say: Now, the rest of the story... This is a case that defies the test of, "what would a reasonable man do?"... the test that lawyers frequently apply to a situation. The so-called "victim" in this case is Ann Goode, a Fairfax County Deputy Sheriff, an instructor at the police academy in Chantilly, Virginia, and teaches police recruit candidates to protect themselves in self-defense. She met her alleged assailant while he was attending training at the academy. He obviously caught her attention by being a leader, being elected president of that graduating class at the academy and a motivated achiever. Are academy instructors permitted to pursue romantic relations with students? Summers was not in a committed relationship with anyone at that time and continued to see other people while dating Goode. Only after Summers fell in love and married someone else did Goode bring charges of being violated. Is this a woman scorned? The allegtion is that a violation occurred between September 1 and October 31 in 2009. No specific date was identified because Goode couldn't remember. Goode admits that she continued her sexual relationship with Summers for many months after she claims the once-only violation occurred. Goode brought her complaints to law enforcement officials and an investigation was initiated on May 3, 2012, four (4) months shy of three (3) years after she claims being violated. Would a reasonable person expect Goode, an experienced law enforcement official for more than twenty (20) years, to collect physical evidence to support a criminal charge? Goode offered none. Would a reasonable person expect a victim to bring charges right away? Goode waited over two and one-half years, after her alleged assailant had married someone else leaving her a scorned woman. Only then did she seek retribution. Would a reasonable person continue to pursue an intimate relationship with someone who had forced such a violent act as alleged in this case? Would a reasonable person expect an instructor in self-defense to be overwhelmed by someone similar to her size? Goode expects people to believe that. This leads the observer to accept that she cannot defend herself as she reportedly teaches others to do. Perhaps the appeal process will apply the "reasonable person" test and arrive at a valid application of justice and overturn this miscarrige of the justice system. The judge and jury obviously failed to fulfill their duries.
Bill Hershey August 03, 2013 at 10:32 PM
I have known this man for over 40 years. We were in grade school together, middle school & high school. We remained friends after high school and became better friends as the years have gone by. I am honored to call him one of my closet friends. To anyone who knows Craig this is an impossible outcome. There is so much of his story that was never told during the trial...why was that? T his is a travesty beyond measure...where has justice been served? So really, if you want to ruin someones life, all you have to do is have a relationship with someone, wait 2-3 years after he's married to someone else and drop a bombshell that he sodomized you years earlier. Yet, you continued to have a relationship with him....why? ESPECIALLY, because you are a Police Academy Trainer who should know better. No, what this is, is a woman who knows the system and knew exactly how to manipulate the system and retaliate against a man who had chosen a different direction for his life...and a more spiritually fulfilling direction with his wife Karen. To his Family & Friends and to Craig: You're in my heart and prayers...and good will prevail.
Kaye DeRonda August 03, 2013 at 10:59 PM
I agree with all previous posts! This so called woman should be racked with guilt over what she has done to Craig, his children and his wife who just happens to be my sister. Last November I was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and Craig was there for me and my family as a "rock" of support and largely responsible for me becoming a new Christian. I am sickened by the justice system in Virginia that they don't require any evidence of the alleged assault; just her desire to ruin Craigs dife because he married someone. It's a case of "if I can't have you
Kaye DeRonda August 03, 2013 at 11:31 PM
Let me start again. He married someone else. It's a case of "if I can't have you, no one can". I can't believe this "woman" has a job that allows her to carry a gun!!" Citizens of Fairfax beware!! Men of the world take note!! It's crazy women like this birch that can ruin YOUR life. I find it incredible that she did not report this to anyone in 3 years; no hospital visit, nothing to her superior officers..No one! She does need therapy but not at Craig and my sister's expense. The whole thing makes me yo my stomsch
Kaye DeRonda August 03, 2013 at 11:33 PM
Sick to my stomach!
Duane Tenney August 06, 2013 at 09:49 AM
I grew up accross the street from Craig, he was in the fire department at that time. I also had the fortune to work with him in the same department before his retirement. I always valued his weekly emails, uplifting messages, a bible study breakfasts as a member of the Christian Firefighters. The allegations run contrary to everything I know about Craig. They are so farfetched from the man I know they leave me wondering about the accuser. I do not believe them true and am disapointed in the Commonwealth for persuing charges. It sounds to me if the Commonwealth Attorney had a personnal vendetta to achieve in the case. I hope Craig knows that he has influenced many lives in a positive manner and that to those of us who know him do not believe what has been portrayed about him.
Jesse Elliott August 16, 2013 at 01:53 PM
As a bystander not personally acquainted with either of the parties involved in this case, several things mystify me. Our justice system requires evidence (proof) in order to bring charges and obtain a conviction for the commission of crimes. Our justice system also requires that the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty. This case was/is clearly little more than a belated She said-He said case lacking anything resembling physical evidence one way or the other, and it appears that the conviction essentially resulted solely on the emotional response of the jury. I understand that the Defense repeatedly presented motions for dismissal based on multiple examples of case law regarding similar cases never permitted to go to trial due to lack of physical evidence. The Judge chose to ignore case law and denied all of the motions from Defense. I also understand that the only thing sworn testimony produced was that some sort of relationship existed between the two parties that seemed stormy at times (hearsay?). So, this all begs several questions: 1) why did the prosecutor feel so compelled to bring charges? 2) Why did the Judge feel so strongly that he needed to allow this case to proceed to trial and ignore case law that would have normally compelled dismissal? 3) What evidence did the jury use to convict? 4) Did the Prosecutor pursue this case only because the parties involved were both Police officers? 5) Was this some big feather in the Prosecutor’s cap – getting a “bad cop” off the street? 6) Why would any reasonable adult (juror) not question why a woman police officer, who teaches self-defense to other police officers, would allow herself to be sexually abused? 7) And why would that same woman police officer then continue in a relationship with her alleged assailant? This is a police officer, after all, who knows the legal system, knows all the vehicles that are in place to aid battered and abused women and who has more than likely, somewhere in her career, had to counsel a battered woman and help her out of just such a situation. 8) What happened in this case? 9) How many times has this woman played this sort of “spurned lover” game in order to get her pound of flesh? 10) If she has done it once, will she do it again? She obviously knows how to game the system. She knows that sexual abuse cases where the alleged perpetrator is a man no longer follow the accepted rules of law, i.e., innocent until proven guilty. If the accused is a man, he is guilty until proven innocent, and the burden of proof falls on the accused rather than the accuser. I say appeal, and appeal now – quickly! If ever a case needed to be overturned, it is this one. If ever a prosecutor and a sitting Judge’s motives needed to be examined by the Bar Association, it is these two, and if ever an accuser’s veracity and motives needed to be examined in depth, it is this woman. .
KDS December 24, 2013 at 08:12 AM
Va. man in prison for false rape claim, being freed... There is hope to right a wrong... Read more: http://www.wjla.com/articles/2012/11/johnathan-montgomery-va-man-in-prison-for-false-rape-claim-being-freed-82298.html#ixzz2oOi3gvA3 Follow us: @ABC7News on Twitter | WJLATV on Facebook

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