This story was corrected on Sept. 6. An explanation follows the story.
In the days after a Virginia man was arrested and charged with kidnapping a 12-year-old Bethesda girl and child sexual solicitation, a Montgomery County judge denied the mother of the victim a protective order against the man.
County district court records indicate the protective order was filed Thursday against 23-year-old National Guardsman and Iraq combat veteran Nathan Samuel Portnoy before circuit court Judge Paul A. McGuckian, according to court records. McGuckian denied the order, stating that the petitioner, the victim’s mother, failed to meet the burden of proof and there was no basis for the order.
The order mirrored the charges brought against Portnoy in county police charging documents and by Montgomery County Assistant State’s Attorney Jessica Hall, who attended Portnoy’s bond review hearing Tuesday.
In the protective order, the mother claims she filed the order because Portnoy was “trying to kidnap [a minor] and [for] pulling a gun on my oldest daughter and her boyfriend.”
At his bond review Tuesday, Portnoy’s original $1 million bond was dropped to a partial $300,000 bond, which Portnoy posted later that day to secure his release from jail before trial. Paul F. Kemp, Portnoy’s defense attorney, claims the protective order denial is potentially another positive sign that his client will eventually be proven not guilty.
“It certainly seems supportive of our position,” Kemp said, adding that he has ordered a copy of the audio recording of the protective order hearing to review what was discussed and exactly how the victim’s mother represented herself.
“She’s not a lawyer so I don’t know what she may have said, how she represented herself or if the girl was even there, but we’ll find all of that out later this week,” he said. “[The judge] still found there was no basis for the charge, so to me it is certainly supportive of our position.”
Ramon Korionoff, a spokesman for the state’s attorney’s office, was unwilling to acknowledge any relation between the denial of a protective order and Portnoy’s criminal charges, claiming that such decisions as the granting of peace orders are solely the prerogative of judges and do not necessarily factor into criminal trials.
“In cases where protective orders are denied it does not necessary mean that the series of events described therein are not truthful,” Korionoff said. “The events described therein can still have merit and can still be proven in a future criminal court proceeding.”
According to Hall, Portnoy arranged, through an online social network, to meet with the 12-year-old victim near her Bethesda home on Aug. 24 for a sexual encounter. After a short time hanging out, Portnoy took the girl to a secluded area in a nearby park and engaged in “some type of sexual activity” with the victim, Hall said.
Portnoy allegedly drove the victim back to her house after her mother called and told her to come home. Back at the house, the victim’s sister and her boyfriend spotted Portnoy and began to chase his car, Hall said.
According to police, Portnoy pointed a handgun out his vehicle window and threatened his pursuers, who gave up the chase, Hall said.
Kemp claimed his client only pulled the gun because the sister and boyfriend had verbally threatened his life. Kemp also denied the prosecution’s version of events, telling the judge that the victim had lied to Portnoy about her age and, when he realized how young she was after meeting her, his client was trying to act honorably and return her home himself when the vehicle chase began.
Just two months ago Portnoy was given a citation by Fairfax County Executive Edward L. Long for his attempts to save a young man who had been rendered incapacitated by downed power lines on Haycock Road in Falls Church after the violent derecho on June 29, Kemp said.
“He called fire rescue and he administered, until fire rescue got there, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but he was unable to revive him, unfortunately the young man passed away,” Kemp said.
The original version of this story misspelled Judge Paul A. McGuckian’s name.