Armed and Indicted: How Culpeper Sheriff Scott Jenkins Retains Power Despite Serious Felony Charges
Written by: Sam Orlando
CULPEPER, VA - In Virginia's recent history, the state has seen its fair share of high-profile indictments, some of which involve elected sheriffs: Scott Jenkins of Culpeper County and former Page County Sheriff Danny Presgraves are two lawmen who came to face federal felony charges while in office. Both men have faced severe charges; however, the differences in their bond conditions, release protocols, and arrest procedures invite further analysis. In this tale of two sheriffs, discrepancies in their legal journeys raise critical questions about the fairness and safety of the legal process for the communities they served.
The more recent case is that of Sheriff Scott Jenkins of Culpeper County. The 51-year-old Jenkins stands indicted on a series of federal felony charges, including conspiracy, honest-services mail and wire fraud, and federal programs bribery. According to the Justice Department, Jenkins allegedly accepted bribes, which amounted to at least $72,500 in cash and campaign contributions. This was in exchange for auxiliary deputy sheriff credentials, which he claimed would allow holders to carry concealed firearms across all 50 states without a permit.
Furthermore, Jenkins is accused of helping Rick Tariq Rahim, one of the three other indicted men, regain his firearms rights, despite Rahim's felony conviction. While Jenkins did not enter a plea during his initial court appearance due to his attorney's absence, the other three men pleaded not guilty and were released on bond. The terms of Jenkins' pretrial release are remarkable: the sheriff is permitted to retain his firearms, except when visited by his pretrial probation officer.
Fast rewind to 2008, when Page County's Sheriff, Daniel Presgraves, was indicted on 22 charges, which included federal conspiracy and felony money laundering, and several misdemeanor charges. The charges were tied to allegations of accepting bribes and sexual harassment of female employees. Presgraves pleaded not guilty and was released on a $50,000 bond. A key restriction was imposed on him: he was not allowed to act as sheriff while his case was ongoing. Following his trial, Presgraves was convicted and served time in federal prison. He has since been released.
The point of interest here lies in the contrasting treatment of the two sheriffs. Despite facing similar high-profile indictments, the pretrial release conditions for Jenkins and Presgraves varied considerably. Notably, Jenkins continues to serve as sheriff and retain his firearms – a stark contrast to Presgraves, who was barred from his role during his legal proceedings.
This discrepancy in treatment has raised eyebrows and deep concerns. Critics argue that Jenkins, who still holds his power over Culpeper County and maintains access to his firearms, poses potential safety concerns for the community he serves.
These observations raise complex questions about the consistency in the justice system's handling of such high-stakes cases. As the case against Jenkins unfolds, many will watch closely, seeking assurance that the legal process can protect the interests of communities while treating each case with fairness.