Former Augusta County Investigator's Arrest Shrouded in Secrecy: Sex Assault Charges Raise Concerns
Written by: Sam Orlando
Staunton, VA – A former Child Protective Services (CPS) investigator in Augusta County, Jessica Duff, 43, of Raphine, VA, has been arrested on charges of sexual assault involving a minor, according to a news release from Augusta County Sheriff Donald Smith.
The Augusta County Sheriff's Office and the Staunton Police Department conducted the investigations that led to Duff's arrest by the United States Marshals Service Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force on April 5, 2023. The Staunton Police Department has charged Duff with two counts of aggravated sexual battery, while the Augusta County Sheriff's Office charged her with one count of object sexual penetration and one count of aggravated sexual battery. Duff is currently being held without bond at Middle River Regional Jail.
Notably absent from the Sheriff's news release is any mention of Duff's previous employment as a CPS investigator in Augusta County. This omission raises concerns about the level of transparency in the handling of this case, especially given Duff's former position within the local law enforcement community. Without transparency about Duff's prior work on behalf of the County with children, the community is left with far more questions than answers.
According to the Child and Family Services Manual published by the Virginia Department of Social Services confirms that a person in Duff's position would have had the authority to take custody of any child she was investigating without the parents' permission. The powers Duff held over children in Augusta County is breathtaking, and the Sheriff's decision to not raise Duff's government connections disturb many local residents.
Breaking Through News is currently conducting a comprehensive investigation into Duff's case. The organization is seeking information from individuals who may have had personal experiences working with Duff as a CPS investigator or who may have encountered issues with her attempting to remove their children. Those with relevant information are encouraged to contact Breaking Through reporter Sam Orlando at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the investigation into Duff's actions continues, it is crucial for the community to be informed about her former governmental connections and to question why the Augusta County Sheriff chose not to disclose this information in his initial news release. This case serves as a reminder of the importance of transparency and accountability within our law enforcement agencies.