Big Stone Gap man convicted of child sex crimes, must serve 15 years in prison

A Big Stone Gap man must spend 15 years in prison after he was convicted of multiple child sex crimes this week, according to Wise County Commonwealth's Attorney Steven Davis.

John Patton Hensley Head, 39, was convicted on multiple counts of aggravated sexual battery, indecent liberties with children, and sexual object penetration. Head entered an Alford plea. An Alford plea is when the suspect admits there is enough evidence to convict him at trial but does not admit guilt.

Head was sentenced to 60 years in prison, with 45 suspended, meaning he must serve 15 years in prison.

According to authorities, Head became a caretaker to two of the victims in 2012. The oldest child reported that he began to molest her at age 7, and the sexual abuse escalated over the years. The younger victim recalled abuse beginning when she was around the age of 10. In 2019, the oldest victim learned through sexual education at school that what Head was doing was sexual abuse and reported what was happening to a friend at school. That friend told her parent who reported the abuse to the victims’ father and the Big Stone Gap Police Department which investigated. A third victim under the age of 6 was discovered, authorities added.


"This defendant used his caretaker role to manipulate, abuse, and victimize vulnerable children in the most innocent years of their lives," Commonwealth's Attorney Steven Davis said. "This appalling behavior has never been and will never be acceptable. My office has taken a firm stance to protect the children of this community and prosecute to the fullest those who hurt them in any manner. This type of conduct is outrageous, vile, and deserves to be treated seriously by this community. We pray that this sentence will provide closure for the victims of this indecent crime."

Head is being held in the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Duffield and will be transferred to the Virginia Department of Corrections. Head will also be required to register as a sex offender for the duration of the 45-year suspended sentence.