By Ned Newton
A Washington and Lee University student who pleaded guilty last week to a misdemeanor sexual battery charge is no longer enrolled and has left campus, a university spokeswoman said Wednesday.
Drewry Sackett, executive director of communications at W&L, declined to comment on whether disciplinary action had been taken against Daniel Selby, 20.
“The university is committed to fostering a climate free from sexual misconduct through clear and effective policies, a coordinated education and prevention program, and prompt and equitable procedures,” she said in an email.
Last Friday, Selby, of Manhasset, N.Y., was sentenced to a year in jail. But the judge suspended all but four days of it, as part of a plea agreement, said Megan Zwisohn, chief deputy commonwealth’s attorney in Rockbridge County and Lexington.
After the court hearing, Selby left Rockbridge County District Court in the custody of sheriff’s deputies and was taken to the Rockbridge Regional Jail to begin his sentence. He was released Saturday morning, after serving less than 24 hours in the jail.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Jared Moon said Selby had received credit for time served, and he also qualified for a reduction of half of his sentence because the charge was a misdemeanor.
An arrest warrant was issued for Selby on Sept. 9 on a charge of sexual object penetration, which is a felony punishable by five years to life in prison, if a defendant is convicted.
As part of Selby’s plea agreement, the felony was reduced to sexual battery. Zwisohn said prosecutors considered the emotional toll that testifying multiple times would take on the female victim.
“That’s our process with all victims,” she said. “This case was done with consultation and agreement with the victim.”
The plea deal also required Selby to apologize to the victim in court. Zwisohn said the suspended sentence could be invoked if Selby has contact of any kind with the victim or gets into trouble again.
Students who know Selby have been concerned about his behavior for months. Selby had at least one verbal altercation with students in which Public Safety officers were called, according to two students familiar with the incident.
W&L is governed by a student honor system, which is administered by students who are elected to the Executive Committee. But the EC does not handle sexual misconduct cases. The university’s administration addresses sexual misconduct allegations through its Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Board.
It’s unclear whether Selby decided to leave school, or if the university initiated disciplinary action against him.
Lexington Police Detective Nathan Kesterson, who investigated the case against Selby, said many W&L sexual assault allegations involving students are handled by the university’s private internal administrative process, instead of the public criminal court system.
“There is a disparity in the number of sexual assault cases that occur on campus and the number of cases that we get information on,” he said.
Kesterson said the Lexington Police Department deals with more sexual assault cases involving the Virginia Military Institute than at W&L.