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Man sentenced for touching girl in Science Museum space capsule

RICHMOND, Va. -- A Richmond man was sentenced to jail time and will have to register as a sex offender after allegedly inappropriately touching a young girl at the Science Museum of Virginia.

Evan Black, 26, was arrested and charged with felony aggravated sexual battery and abduction with intent to defile charges for the February 2016 crime.

Black entered an Alford plea for aggravated sexual battery of a child under the age of 13 during his scheduled trial in Richmond Circuit Court Friday morning. The Commonwealth nolle pressed the abduction charge in exchange for the plea agreement.

An Alford Plea means Black understood there was enough evidence to convict him of the crime, however, he did not admit guilt.

Judge Joi Taylor sentenced the defendant to 10 years in prison with eight years suspended for a total of two years jail time, per the agreement.

Police were called to the Science Museum at about 4:50 p.m. on Valentine's Day 2016 after a child said she was touched inappropriately by a stranger.

Officials made contact with a witness who was approached by a nine-year-old girl that said a man had grabbed her and touched her private parts, according to court documents.

As the witness attempted to help the girl search for her family, the witness said the victim pointed out a man in a hooded sweatshirt and said, "that's him."  Court documents stated the witness attempted to follow the suspect unsuccessfully.

During a forensic interview, the victim stated that she had run ahead of her family and walked into an area with a movie screen and a space capsule.

The girl told detectives she sat in the space capsule and Black then sat next to her in the enclosed space, according to prosecutors. The victim attempted to get out of the capsule but Black allegedly put her on his lap and inappropriately touched her.

Black, then 25, was arrested in March after police shared photos of the Science Museum suspect.

Cpt. Randy Howard, with Capitol Police, said “two independent” tips identified Black from surveillance images.  Both tipsters know Black, and neither know each other.

Prosecutors said Black initially denied being present at the museum but later admitted that he sat the girl on his lap when confronted with surveillance footage. He denied touching the girl.

Black's family members were emotional during the sentencing and did not want to comment outside of the courtroom.

Upon his release, Black will need to register as a sex offender and must not get within 100 feet from minors.