Rockingham County victim witness advocate resigns
County commissioners accepted the resignation of Tara Longo, a 16-year employee with the county attorney’s office, after she spent about two months on paid administrative leave.
Longo departs her job after being on paid leave since Nov. 6.
“She has not been given it yet, but my gut feeling is that she will get it,” County Commissioner Tom Tombarello said.
State prosecutors have acknowledged that Longo had a potential credibility issue that was never disclosed to defense attorneys by prosecutors within the office.
When the county attorney later became aware of the misrepresentation, Longo was allowed to remain in her position despite the credibility issue that was raised, according to Hawkes’ memo.
Baird, 77, a Danville man convicted of aggravated felonious sexual assault, has already been notified by the interim county attorney that he may be entitled to seek a new trial. He is serving a 40- to 80-year prison term.
Associate Attorney General Jane Young said on Thursday that the investigation into Reams’ office is continuing, but she could not address the aspect of the case focusing on Longo.
The wide-ranging investigation into the Rockingham County Attorney’s Office has included allegations of Reams sexually harassing employees, his management of a forfeiture account and his alleged failure to disclose Longo’s potential credibility issue, according to interviews and court records.
Reams, who has held the elected post since 1998, has denied any wrongdoing and suggested the probe is politically motivated.
“We hope to fill the position as soon as possible because of the significant need for victim-witness services,” Boffetti said. Two other full-time victim witness advocates work in the office full time, guiding victims through the criminal justice process, including trials, plea agreements and sentencing hearings.
Reid, the deputy county attorney, remained on paid administrative leave as of Thursday, continuing to collect his annual salary of $93,003.
Tombarello said he has been anxious to resolve the job status of both Longo and Reid.
“My concern was that the taxpayers were paying for two employees who were at home and not on the job,” Tombarello said. “I was hoping this investigation would go a lot quicker but I understand that they have to do their research.”
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