Gubernatorial grandson: Rape charges certified to grand jury

Stephen Dalton Baril, second from right, appears outside Charlottesville General District Court November 16. A judge certified his rape and sodomy charges to the grand jury. Staff photo Stephen Dalton Baril, second from right, appears outside Charlottesville General District Court November 16. A judge certified his rape and sodomy charges to the grand jury. Staff photo

During a preliminary hearing in which the alleged victim burst into tears and ran out of the courtroom, a judge certified rape and forcible sodomy charges against a former UVA student.

Stephen Dalton Baril, 20, is accused of pushing another student onto the bed of his Wertland Street apartment, taking her clothes off, performing oral sex on her and raping her while she cried out for help. He’s the grandson of the late John Dalton, a Republican who served as the 63rd governor of Virginia from 1978 to 1982.

The alleged victim—identified as M.H. in court—sat in the front row behind prosecutor Areshini Pather, staring straight ahead, and family members with their heads low stroked her back in support. Young women who appeared to be present in support of her lined the rows behind her.

Baril’s supporters also filled up several rows, while the defendant stood quietly at the stand.

Charlottesville police Detective Regine Wright-Settle testified that between late January 31 and early February 1, M.H. said Baril met up with her at Coupe’s, a popular bar on the Corner, and bought her a drink. She left with Baril, whom she met during a mixer between her sorority and his fraternity, with the intention of him walking her to her nearby apartment.

As she and Baril were walking from Coupe’s to her place, the young woman told Wright-Settle that Baril playfully picked her up and redirected her to his apartment. When they got there, she immediately asked to use the restroom, and when she emerged, the Richmond native was standing in nothing but his underwear.

Defense attorney Rhonda Quagliana asked the detective to show a surveillance video of the two walking down University Avenue and Wertland Street, which never shows Baril pick her up. When the lawyer noted that her account didn’t match the footage, the woman who brought the charges erupted in tears, turned to the person on her right in disbelief, and crying, she dashed for the door. A deputy followed her out.

Wright-Settle read a series of text messages from that night, in which Baril texted the young woman after the reported rape: “Sorry for being over excited,” and “ I hope you’re not mad at me. Let me know if I was being stupid.”

The next morning, he allegedly texted, “Haha. My head hurts,” and asked if she was on “the pill.”

To that, M.H. replied that it doesn’t matter because she “stopped [him],” and said it was a bad decision. Baril replied, “What was a bad decision? I hope you had fun. I did.”

According to the detective, the accuser told her that going to Baril’s apartment was the “bad decision” she was referring to, and that she told him to stop several times. She said as Baril forced himself on her, she called out for help.

In cross examination, Wright-Settle said she interviewed Baril’s roommates who were reportedly home, and none of them could attest to hearing someone call for help that night.

Defense attorney Quagliana, who also noted that the two appeared to be walking arm-in-arm and hand-in-hand in the video, said after the alleged incident, when M.H. was seen on video walking alone to her own apartment, she looked “neatly dressed” and her hair wasn’t messy.

Judge Robert Downer also amended Baril’s bond to allow him to leave his home in the presence of a parent.

Baril is scheduled to appear in front of the grand jury in December.

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