The Collegian
Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Ex-VUU students sentenced to jail for rape of UR student

A Henrico County Circuit Court sentenced two former Virginia Union University men on Tuesday for the rape of a Westhampton College student.

John Patrick Cates, 21, and Brian Anthony Ridgeway, 24, were sentenced to eight-and-a-half years and eight years in prison, respectively, for the rape of a WC student last year. Cates' sentence was previously reported yesterday incorrectly, as six-and-a-half years, in the Richmond Times Dispatch.

Judge Daniel T. Balfour previously convicted the two men on Nov. 9, without a jury. In November Balfour said the case came down to a question of consent.

DNA evidence confirmed that the two men had had sexual contact with the victim, and the two men said the sexual acts were consensual.

But the victim said that she said "no" repeatedly and did not consent. The victim was intoxicated at the time of the rape and was later unable to identify the man who raped her to or say how many times she was raped.

The victim said she met the four men at a party at the University Forest Apartments on the night of Jan. 20, 2006.

Frank LaRuffa, Assistant Commonwealth's attorney, prosecuted the case and said that he was pleased with the outcome of the case.

"This was obviously a difficult case and a lot of emotion goes into trying to prepare or present a rape," LaRuffa said. "Getting a conviction is always a great thing, and then seeing sentences that you feel serve justice is also a good thing, so I'm happy for both of those things"

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