Fayette County Prosecuting Attorney Anthony Ciliberti Jr. has announced that a former Fayette County teacher has pled guilty to sex offenses involving some of his former students.
Leonard D. Varner Jr., 35, formerly of Hopewell, pled guilty to one count of third degree sexual assault, one count of second degree sexual assault, one count of sexual abuse by a parent, guardian, custodian or person in a position of trust, and one count of soliciting a minor.
Varner was formerly employed as a teacher by the Fayette County Board of Education. All of the offenses to which Varner pled are felony sex offenses which involved minor children, according to a press release from Ciliberti’s office.
Varner will be sentenced by Judge Paul M. Blake Jr. on May 9, 2022 at 9:30 a.m. and will face a minimum of 23 years and a maximum of 60 years in prison. Varner will also be subject to up to 50 years of extended supervised release.
On June 17, 2020, a member of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department received a complaint from a parent regarding Varner concerning their child, the press release noted. The parent advised that Varner had attempted to solicit sex from their minor child through Snapchat, a cell phone app that sends text messages which are then automatically deleted after being received and read by the recipient. The minor child used a friend’s cell phone to take pictures of Varner’s inappropriate messages prior to the messages being deleted.
The investigation confirmed the initial allegations and uncovered additional criminal acts committed by Varner. Investigators determined that Varner held social gatherings at his residence in Hopewell for former students, all of whom were still minor children. Varner provided alcohol to the minor children during these gatherings and then engaged in sexual activities with them. In one instance, Varner engaged in sex with a minor child who was intoxicated almost to the point of being unconscious. Three of the four victims named in the indictment were former students of Varner.
The crimes were investigated by the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department. Support services for the victims were provided by the Just for Kids Child Advocacy Center.
Ciliberti prosecuted the case.
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