A Botetourt County man pleaded no contest Tuesday to a sexual battery charge in a case that dates back to 2006.
Matthew Adam Welch, now 29, was 17 at the time when Roanoke County police were dispatched to a house where Welch and other teens appeared to have been drinking, according to a case overview presented by the prosecutor’s office.
Two people, including a 15-year-old girl, were taken to the hospital with alcohol poisoning, said assistant prosecutor Ashley Sweet.
The girl was extremely lethargic, Sweet said. Another person at the house reported finding her outside partially unclothed, and she told the officers she didn’t know what happened.
DNA was collected and was compared to that of another teen who had been at the house but didn’t return a match, Sweet said.
The case remained cold until 2017, when authorities were notified a hit had been returned, pointing to Welch as a possible match.
Welch had, in the intervening years, accrued a criminal record, and his DNA had been submitted to the state, Sweet said.
That record included a set of 2016 convictions for petty larceny, drug paraphernalia, property damage and assault and battery, according to court documents.
Welch initially was charged with felony rape. On Tuesday, under a plea agreement, that was amended to a Class 1 misdemeanor of sexual battery.
In court, Sweet said that due to the age of the case, issues with witnesses had arisen. Defense attorney Jeff Dorsey also said that if the case had gone to trial, he would have presented alternate accounts pointing to conflicting reports of what happened that day.
Welch waived an opportunity to make a statement during the hearing in Roanoke County Circuit Court.
In keeping with the plea agreement, Judge James Swanson sentenced Welch to the maximum penalty for the charge. He’ll serve one year in jail and pay a fine of $2,500. He’ll be on probation once released and must have no contact with the victim.