House leadership asks Va. Delegate Rick Morris to resign following domestic assault charges

Posted at 4:02 PM, Sep 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-26 19:47:12-04

RICHMOND, Va. - Several leaders from the Virginia House of Delegates have asked Delegate Rick Morris to step down after he was arrested Tuesday and again on Thursday in relation to a domestic incident.

Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell, Majority Leader M. Kirkland “Kirk” Cox, Caucus Chairman Timothy D. Hugo, Majority Whip Jackson H. Miller and Deputy Majority Leader C. Todd Gilbert issued this statement Saturday:

“We are deeply concerned by the charges against Delegate Rick Morris.  While we all believe that individuals are innocent until proven guilty and entitled to their day in court, these are serious and troubling allegations.  Accordingly, we have asked Delegate Morris to resign his seat effective immediately.  He needs this time to focus on his personal and family life and we pray for the comfort and healing of everyone involved in this situation.

“We are reminded now of the importance of preserving the public’s trust and the expectations, obligations, and duties that come with the privilege of serving in the House of Delegates.  Legislators are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that is above reproach and consistent with the honor and dignity of this body.  We take seriously our responsibility to preserve the integrity of this storied institution, and while we deeply regret having to do so we are compelled to ask for Delegate Morris’s resignation in order to protect the House of Delegates.”

Police say after further investigation stemming from the initial complaint, Morris is now charged with three felony counts of cruelty and injuries to children, three counts of child endangerment, three misdemeanor counts of domestic assault involving a minor, and two misdemeanor counts of domestic violence involving an adult.

Suffolk Police say Morris was released from Western Tidewater Regional Jail around 1 a.m. Wednesday morning on $1,500 bond.

Records state that Suffolk Police made contact with Morris' stepson in reference to a Child Protective Services complaint.

An arrest warrant states that the child was allegedly struck on the hands, wrists and forearms with a belt that left large welts and extensive bruising from an incident that happened September 16, 2016.

It states the 11-year-old boy was allegedly made to sit and "stand in the corner of the room for several hours consisting of the majority of three days during the dates of September 16, September 17, and September 18.  It states the boy ran away from home on September 17.

Police found that the victim was assaulted by Morris on September 16 and sustained injuries that indicated physical discipline.

It states the child ran away and authorities got involved.

Police say the alleged abuse also happened on various dates in 2016.

The court records state that through the police investigation Morris' wife said she was allegedly assaulted by him on December 23, 2015.  It states that she reported that they got into a verbal argument, and it turned violent.

The records state, "Mr. Morris grabbed her by the neck and pushed her into the hallway from their bedroom... She injured her left ankle as a result of this altercation and was placed into a temporary cast."

The alleged incidents occurred on the 300 block of Babbtown Road.

News 3 repeatedly reached out to Morris, but have not heard back.

He is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday morning at 9 a.m.