CHRISTIANSBURG — Surreptitiously video-recording a woman he was having sex with, then sending that recording to someone else brought former Virginia Tech defensive back Dwayne Lamont Crossen a two-month jail term Thursday.
The sentence came after Crossen entered no-contest pleas and was convicted on two misdemeanor charges of filming a nude person without their consent and distributing that recording. Crossen stipulated that the evidence was sufficient to find him guilty.
Last year, the sex video cost Crossen a spot on the Hokie squad and caused his supension from the university. After a request Thursday from Crossen’s attorney, Jimmy Turk of Radford, and an appeal from Crossen’s father, Montgomery County General District Court Judge Jerry Mabe agreed to let Crossen delay reporting to jail so he would not miss the July 8 start of a summer session at Crossen’s new school, Northwest Mississippi Community College.
Crossen, 19, can begin serving his term on Dec. 21, the start of his winter break, Mabe ordered — then added that if between now and then, Turk and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Obenshain worked out a different schedule for Crossen to serve his time, he would consider amending his order.
According to testimony Thursday, Crossen’s problems began in August, about a week after he arrived in Blacksburg as a freshman. Known as D.J. Crossen on football rosters, the former Greensboro, North Carolina, player was planned to train with the team and probably achieve a starting position in coming years, a coach said last fall.
But in August, he and another first-year student, a woman who is not being named by The Roanoke Times, met online through a Tech Instagram page for incoming freshmen. Soon after classes started, they went on a date and ended up having consensual sex in her dormitory room.
The woman testified that Crossen asked if he could use his phone to make a video of them having sex and she told him no. Crossen said that at a point during the encounter, when the woman had her back toward him, he took a video of her.
Later, he testified, he sent the video to another woman who was a friend from back home. The friend was bisexual, Crossen explained, and in a text message exchange had asked him “how the females were” in Blacksburg.
However, Crossen continued, he eventually learned he was not texting with his friend. Someone had hacked one of his friend’s messaging accounts, he told Mabe. Crossen testified he now does not know to whom he sent the video.
The woman shown in the video learned of its existence in September, about a month after it was made. She testified that she was at home in Charlottesville when she received a Snapchat message containing the video and saying that it would soon be widely posted online.
She said that she immediately reported the incident to police, driving back to Blacksburg the next day to make a written statement.
Afterward, Crossen’s football teammates began contacting her — some to criticize her for reporting Crossen and some with sexually explicit invitations, she said.
The woman testified that the incident affected her grades and health and made her withdraw from friends because she did not want to talk to them about what was happening.
“I lost the ability to trust people. … It felt like I was stuck living in a nightmare,” she said.
Crossen maintained that he’d been given permission to make the video but said he was sorry about the outcome.
“I honestly want to apologize to her. I did a huge disservice to her,” he said.
Turk asked Crossen if he agreed that what he’d done was “extremely stupid,” and Crossen said yes, it was.
In his closing, Turk argued, “There’s a difference between stupidity and just being sheer mean” and said Crossen had not meant to harm the woman. Turk said there was an element of personal responsibility to the case, noting that the woman agreed to go to bed with Crossen without really knowing much about him.
That prompted Obenshain to reply that he found it “offensive to attempt to deflect any of the blame for this case to the victim” and to note that Crossen landed in court because of his own choices.
Mabe said he thought Crossen’s decisions about the video were “a mindless act … typical of people who are young.” He said that in deciding punishment, he took into account Crossen’s recognition that he had done wrong, his punishment by Tech and his lack of a prior criminal record.
Mabe imposed a 12-month jail sentence for each conviction and ordered that they run consecutively, then suspended all but two months. The suspended sentence will remain over Crossen for a year, Mabe said, and could be re-imposed if there are more charges. The judge ordered that Crossen have no contact with the woman he recorded.
Turk noted that if Crossen obeys jail rules, he will receive an additional day of credit for each day served, meaning he could complete his sentence in a month.