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Judge denies bond for RPD officer charged with sex crimes against child

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RICHMOND, Va. -- The Richmond Police officer charged with two felony counts of sodomy of a juvenile will remain in jail for now.  Charles Church, a 12 year veteran on the police force, was denied bond by a judge in Richmond Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Thursday morning.

Investigators said Church sexually assaulted a juvenile female under the age of 13 on Nov. 2.  During the hearing, prosecutors said the victim immediately reported what happened to the next adult she saw and that the child is "greatly scared" by what happened to her.

CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone said a quick report by the alleged victim is critical to the case.

"If [the victim] reported it soon after, that means the search warrant  was filed soon after the event, and [investigators] are likely to find evidence," Stone said.

A forensics van was parked in front of the Eagle Mill Loft Apartment complex in the Carver neighborhood where Church lives Wednesday night.  Neighbors said officers have been coming in and out of the building since Tuesday.

Church requested a bond hearing before hiring an attorney.  During that hearing, he told the court that he hopes they presume his innocence before he is found guilty.  Church said he has lived in the area for 15 years and his wife lives in Richmond; therefore, he is not a flight risk.

The judge decided to deny Church's request for bond, and ordered that he have no direct or indirect contact with the victim or any member of the victim's family.  Church's wife is not related to the victim, prosecutors said.

Charles Church (SOURCE: Richmond Police Department)

Charles Church (SOURCE: Richmond Police Department)

If convicted, Church faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and would be placed on the sex offender registry.  Church is officially charged with two felony counts of sodomy of a juvenile.

"If there is some kind of permanent injury, as is suggested [in the arrest warrants], that is also a very serious offense, if charged separately," said Stone.

The Richmond Police Department placed Church on administrative leave without pay pending the outcome of their investigation into the incident.

“It is unfortunate to have to arrest one of our fellow officers,” RPD Chief Alfred Durham said in a news release. “But it is our job to enforce the law and bring those responsible for committing criminal acts to justice even if it’s one of my own.”

Church has an attorney status hearing on Dec. 1.

Depend on WTVR.com and CBS 6 News for continuing coverage of this story.