By Ellie Ankeny
Former Hull’s Drive-In Executive Director Jeremy Reter pleaded no contest Monday to charges that he committed indecent acts with a minor, a 16-year-old girl who worked at the theater.
Reter, 44, also pleaded no contest to a charge of embezzlement in Rockbridge County Circuit Court.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Billias said Reter initially denied the allegations involving the girl, which social services authorities reported to the Rockbridge County Sheriff’s Office last year.
Billias said when Reter’s wife was contacted by police, she told investigators that she had received text messages that her husband had meant to send to the girl. The prosecutor said Reter’s wife shared the texts with police.
A grand jury indicted Reter Feb. 5. He was also accused of embezzling $434 between March 14 and Aug. 16, 2017.
Reter was in charge of the drive-in’s finances. Billias said Reter used the funds to pay personal bills.
The prosecutor said Reter said he thought he had taken only $100 and he intended to pay it back. But after members of the Hull’s Drive-In board conducted an investigation, they found that $434 was missing.
Judge Anita Filson accepted the no contest plea and found Reter guilty on all five charges.
Reter’s sentencing is set for June 26. He faces up to 40 years in prison—20 years for all four counts of indecency and up to 20 years for the embezzlement charge.
Reter worked for the drive-in for six years and served as the executive director for four of those years.
Hull’s Drive-In has been a part of the Rockbridge area community for over 50 years. Eighteen years ago, it was saved from closure by volunteers who created the nation’s first nonprofit, community-owned drive-in theatre.
“The community didn’t want to lose the drive-in in 2000,” said customer Kary Smout. “This just speaks to how much Hull’s Drive-In means to the Rockbridge Area Community.”
The Drive-In opened on March 16 for the 2018 season.