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      Child Sex Charge Against Bedford Co. Man Dismissed

      Benjamin Gravely

      Bedford, VA - A Bedford County man accused of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl has been released from custody.

      Prosecutors asked a judge to dismiss the forcible sodomy charge against Benjamin Gravely, because the victim is too traumatized to face Gravely in court. The Commonwealth's case relies solely on the girl's testimony. There is no physical evidence and no other witnesses.

      "This young child was just not able to go forward," said Randy Krantz, Bedford County Commonwealth's Attorney. "So the Commonwealth asked the court to dismiss the charge, certainly not to reward the defendant."

      The Commonwealth alleges Gravely assaulted the girl at his Body Camp home last year. The girl is a female relative of Gravely, who prosecutors say was visiting his home. Gravely was ordered to have no contact with the girl.

      Krantz hopes to present the case to the grand jury, to bring back the charge against Gravely through direct indictment.

      Under a new Virginia law, the rape of a child under 13 by an adult carries a mandatory minimum life sentence.

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