Editor’s note: The Collegian does not name victims of crimes without their permission. The article was updated to reflect the correct number of original charges faced in February.
A former University of Richmond student surprised defense and prosecuting attorneys when he changed his three guilty pleas of sexual battery to no contest.
Anthony Madrigal, 19, from Oakland, California, was sentenced to three months in jail and five years of unsupervised probation for three charges of sexual battery after pleading no contest Tuesday morning in City of Richmond Circuit Court.
He was ordered to serve his three-month jail sentence at the Richmond City Justice Center.
Sexual battery is defined by the state of Virginia as sexual abuse by force, threat, intimidation or ruse. One count of sexual battery is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months jail time and a $2,500 fine.
When substitute judge Theodore J. Markow read off the individual charges to Madrigal and asked how he pleaded for each charge, Madrigal said he was guilty.
But when Markow asked Madrigal whether he felt like he was guilty, Madrigal said he believed he was not guilty, which appeared to surprise both his attorney and the prosecution.
After a quick deliberation with the prosecution, the defense attorney, Sara Gaborik, amended Madrigal’s plea of guilty to no contest on all charges.
A no-contest plea in the commonwealth of Virginia is similar to a guilty plea in that the defendant still submits to criminal punishment, but the defendant does not have to confirm or deny that they committed the crimes they are charged with.
As a result of sentencing agreements made between the defendant and prosecution, Madrigal was sentenced to a total of three months jail time with five years of unsupervised probation for all three sexual battery charges.
Madrigal is also required to register as a sex offender in the commonwealth of Virginia, is prohibited from contacting the two survivors and must keep good behavior. He is also required to submit a DNA sample for state records.
If Madrigal violates any of these requirements, he must return to court to potentially serve the rest of the two years, nine months jail sentence he received that was replaced by the five years probation.
In February, Madrigal was originally arrested and charged with two felony charges of abduction and forcible sodomy. The abduction charge was dropped in March, according to court records.
Madrigal was then given three charges – rape, sodomy and object sexual penetration by force.
At the plea hearing on Tuesday, those charges were lowered to three counts of sexual battery, with no explanation given by the judge or by the prosecution or defense attorneys.
After Madrigal's arrest in the spring, the Marin Independent Journal reported that three former classmates from Madrigal’s high school, Marin Academy, came forward to report “unwanted sexual advances” from Madrigal during his time as a student there. At the time of the article’s reporting, Madrigal did not face criminal charges from the students’ reports.
Madrigal is no longer a UR student and will not be returning.
Confidential on-campus resources for survivors of sexual violence include Counseling and Psychological Services, PSMAs (firstname.lastname@example.org), the Office of the Chaplaincy and the Student Health Center. Safe Harbor Advocate is a confidential off-campus resource.
Non-confidential resources are the university police, the Title IX office, the Westhampton College and Richmond College dean's offices and the Office of Common Ground.
Editor-in-Chief Jocelyn Grzeszczak contributed to reporting.
Contact news writer Julia Raimondi at email@example.com.