Marion man pleads guilty to child sex crimes

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A Southwest Virginia man pleaded guilty Thursday to several sex crimes. 

The Smyth County Sheriff’s Office says Bert Tony Cooper, 44 of Marion, pleaded guilty to rape, forcible sodomy, object sexual penetration, and indecent liberties. 

The sheriff’s office launched an investigation last year after several juveniles living at a mobile home park where Cooper worked as a handyman reported inappropriate sexual conduct by Cooper. Investigators say DNA evidence was consistent with the victims’ claims.

Cooper was sentenced to 160 years in prison, with 144 suspended. After 16 years in prison, Cooper will be on active probation for five years and must register as a sex offender. 

Sheriff Chip Shuler says children in Smyth County are safer thanks to the joint effort by his office and the county commonwealth’s attorney’s office. 

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