House Republican Leader Gilbert: Those Implicated in Parole Board Fiasco Must Resign or Be Fired

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Late last night, WTVR-TV in Richmond reported that both former and current chairs of the Virginia Parole Board were found by the Office of State Inspector General to be involved in a number of illegal activities, including falsification of records, instructing subordinates to falsify records, failure to keep legally-required records, and failure to cooperate with the State Inspector General.

House Republican Leader Todd Gilbert issued the following statement:

“Last night we learned that something has gone very wrong at the Parole Board, and potentially in the Northam administration. People charged with being impartial adjudicators have committed crimes. The legal process has been corrupted. And Virginians’ faith in their government has been shaken yet again.

“At some point Judge Adrianne Bennett became convinced that twice-convicted cop killer Vincent Martin had been ‘railroaded,’ and abandoned her duty to victims and her duty to the Commonwealth to be an impartial actor. In her zeal to see Vincent Martin released from prison, instructed her subordinates to falsify records in an effort to circumvent policy and secure Martin’s release.

“Also, she caused the minutes of Parole Board meetings to be altered to remove all reference to Vincent Martin. This was also substantiated by an investigation.

“Current Parole Board Chair Tonya Chapman is also implicated and accused of committing criminal acts. She failed to report the criminal activities of then-Chair Bennett and assisted in the altering of records. She also failed to cooperate with the Office of Inspector General, at which point it became clear that the minutes had been altered.

“The Northam Administration need to tell us if they were involved in changing this damning report or covering up these criminal acts, and the Office of Inspector General needs to tell us why they hid these findings from the public.

“There is only one solution in situations where a public official has so grossly violated the public trust — that person must be discharged from that office immediately. If they have any honor, they will resign. Otherwise, they should be fired.

“If Judge Bennett does not resign her post, this body should begin the process of impeachment.

“If Chairwoman Chapman does not resign her position, or if she is not fired by Governor Northam, the House must begin removal proceedings.

“I hope that all involved will do the right thing and spare the Commonwealth of further embarrassment. But if they refuse to do the right thing, I hope that the majority will not shrink from its responsibility.”