92-year-old charged with molesting youths 40 years ago

BOTETOURT COUNTY – A Botetourt County grand jury returned five indictments against Guy “Tex” Ritter of Salem Monday on child molestation charges that date to incidents in 1970 and 1971.

According to Botetourt Commonwealth’s Attorney Joel Branscom, the incidents allegedly occurred at a time when Ritter, now 92, was serving at least one Lutheran church in Botetourt County.

Two alleged victims, who Branscom was not ready to identify by gender, were 11 and 12 at the time.

Branscom said the victims came to his office with their story and he referred them to the Botetourt County Sheriff’s Department.

Subsequently, investigations led to the charges that resulted in Monday’s direct indictments.

According to Roanoke College’s website, Rev. Ritter has a residence hall named after him, and he served the college as an associate professor of religion and philosophy for 27 years.

Branscom said the indictments were brought under 1970 and 1971 code sections, and that under those charges Ritter could face as much as 25 years in prison if convicted.

Ritter was arrested Tuesday afternoon in Salem, appeared before a magistrate and was released on a secured bond, Branscom said.

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