Deskins Pleads To Prostitution Charge

Posted: June 10, 2014

WOODSTOCK — A former Winchester city government official pleaded guilty to solicitation of prostitution Monday, was fined $500 and received a suspended jail sentence.

Jim Deskins, the city’s former economic development director, entered the guilty plea in Shenandoah County General District Court as part of a deal struck with Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda Wiseley.

As part of the agreement, a possession of marijuana charge he faced was dropped.

Deskins, of Harrisonburg, was arrested and charged with both misdemeanor offenses on March 27 after he arranged to meet a prostitute during a law enforcement sting operation at a Shenandoah County hotel.

Wiseley and William August “Beau” Bassler, Deskins’ defense attorney, presented the agreed-upon disposition to General District Court Judge W. Dale Houff.

The deal called for Deskins to be sentenced to six months in jail, with all of it suspended, and fined $1,000, with $500 suspended. He also agreed to forfeit the $100 used in the solicitation transaction.

“It seems appropriate,” Houff said in accepting the deal.

Wiseley said after the case was resolved that the penalties were the same for all defendants arrested in the sting.

“[Deskins] got the same disposition as everyone else,” she said.

Deskins and Bassler declined comment afterward.

The 59-year-old worked for Winchester for 13 years as both its economic redevelopment director and the executive director of the Winchester Economic Development Authority. His salary was $123,219 for filling those roles.

His resignation from both posts was effective April 3.

Prior to coming to Winchester, he was the executive director of the Harrisonburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority.

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