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Scott County authorities drop rape charge after woman recants accusations

Wes Bunch • Jun 26, 2013 at 7:21 AM

GATE CITY — A Church Hill man who was accused of rape last week had his charges dismissed Tuesday during an appearance in Scott County General District Court after the alleged victim in the case recanted statements she gave to authorities.

The rape charge against Scotty Lee Bishop, 37, Church Hill, was dropped by General District Court Chief Judge R. Larry Lewis on a “nolle prosequi” motion by the Scott County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

Bishop was released from the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail early Monday afternoon on an unsecured bond shortly after prosecutors decided to drop the Class O felony.

Authorities said they made the decision after the alleged victim in the case recanted her accusations and indicated she would be unwilling to testify Tuesday during what was originally scheduled as Bishop’s bond hearing.

“The victim recanted her story and we didn’t have enough evidence to proceed on it,” Scott County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Dan Fellhauer said. "No prosecutor wants to convict an innocent person, so as soon as we realized the evidence we had showed it was consensual, we moved as fast as we could to get him out of jail.”

Because the charge was “nolle prossed,” authorities said they can choose to reopen the case at a later date if more evidence comes to light.

Prosecutors indicated they would discuss the case with Bishop and his attorney, Gate City-based lawyer Greg Baker, before deciding whether to charge the woman who leveled the rape accusation.

Bishop was arrested the morning of June 17 by Kingsport police on a warrant issued by a Scott County magistrate.

Police reports indicated that a 22-year-old woman told authorities that Bishop had given her a pill under false pretenses before asking her several times to have sex. The woman allegedly told police that Bishop held her down and penetrated her after she told him no repeatedly.

Bishop reportedly admitted to Gate City police that he gave the woman a pill that was intended to arouse her.

Authorities said they were contacted late last week by the alleged victim, who indicated she was nervous about her need to testify in court before withdrawing her accusations Monday.

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