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Ex Spotsy firefighter faces rape charge
A former Spotsylvania volunteer firefighter faces rape charge

 Baber
Visit the Photo Place
Date published: 5/16/2011

BY KEITH EPPS

A former volunteer firefighter in Spotsylvania County is accused of having sex with a 13-year-old girl earlier this month in a county vehicle.

Justin Neil Baber, 23, of Spotsylvania was arrested Saturday and charged with rape. He is being held without bond in the Rappahannock Regional Jail.

Baber was a firefighter with the Chancellor Volunteer Fire Department until his recent dismissal. Kevin Dillard, the administration chief for the volunteer organization, said Baber was let go after the accusation came to light.

"This is very concerning and frustrating to all of us," Dillard said. "It gives a black eye to all of the people who are doing a great job, and we are not going to tolerate it."

According to Sheriff's Lt. Col. Michael Timm, the Sheriff's Office began an investigation Friday evening after getting a call from the girl's parents. The girl had told a counselor about the incident, and the counselor told the parents.

Timm said that on May 4, the girl was trying to send a text message to another girl, but had the wrong phone number. The text instead went to Baber's cellphone.

After exchanging several texts during which it became clear the girl had been trying to communicate with someone else, Timm said, the suspect eventually asked the girl where she lived and if she could sneak out to meet him if he came to her subdivision in the Chancellor area.

The girl agreed to meet the suspect and later told deputies he was driving a white "police-type" vehicle with radios in it. The girl told police the encounter happened after the suspect parked the vehicle in her neighborhood.

It turned out that the suspect had been at the firehouse when he got the text and was driving the department's "response vehicle."

After interviewing the girl, Detective Ed Lunsford picked up Baber and arrested him.

Dillard said the keys to the response vehicle were at the station along with other keys, but said Baber was not authorized to use the vehicle. He said the department does everything possible to screen people before they join, including background checks and drug screenings.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404
Email: kepps@freelancestar.com