W&L student pleads guilty in sexual battery case

A Lexington court lowered a felony charge against Dan Selby, ’25, to a misdemeanor in a Feb. 3 trial


Tori Johnsson

The Lexington Police Department arrested Selby in September 2022.

Bri Hatch, Shauna Muckle, and Jenny Hellwig

TW: This story contains discussions about sexual assault. 

A Washington and Lee student pled guilty to sexual battery on Feb. 3 and spent one night in Rockbridge Regional Jail.

Daniel Selby, ’25, arrived at the local jail on Friday after his final court hearing at 10 a.m. He was released around 6 a.m. the next day, said Chief of Inmate Services Lt. Chad Hamilton. 

Selby did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication. He still has an active listing in the university student directory as of Feb. 5. A student familiar with the matter also confirmed on Sunday that Selby is back in his on-campus townhouse. 

The Lexington Police Department arrested Selby on Sept. 21, 2022, according to documents released by the Lexington General District Court and Deputy Chief Scott Fitzgerald. Police filed his case the next day. 

Selby paid a bail of $5,000 within hours of his arrest, according to court documents. Under the initial terms, Selby was not allowed to leave the state or engage in excessive use of alcohol and illegal drugs. 

Selby was also barred from direct or indirect contact with the victim, whose name the Phi is not publishing. 

Selby was originally charged with “object sexual penetration by force, threat, intimidation or via mental incapacitation/helpless victim” for an offense that occurred on Sept. 9, according to the court documents. Under the Virginia criminal code, the felony charge carries a sentence of five years to life, if a defendant is convicted.

Selby’s charge was reduced to a misdemeanor for “sexual battery.” The judge sentenced him to 365 days in Rockbridge Regional Jail, according to the court documents. But 361 of those days were suspended, the documents said, “conditioned upon being of good behavior, keeping the peace, obeying this order and paying fines and costs.” 

Alongside a one-night jail sentence, Selby also paid a total fee of $182 to the court.

Selby’s preliminary hearing took place on Jan. 23. 

Despite the terms of his bail, Lexington’s court soon loosened restrictions on Selby’s out-of-state travel. 

The court allowed Selby to travel to D.C. “for a school-related commitment” Oct. 29-30, according to an Oct. 5 court order. That same order also freed him to travel to and from his parents’ home in Manhasset, New York. 

Fitzgerald said Selby’s arrest likely followed a regular process. Under that process, the Lexington Police Department investigates reported incidents, Fitzgerald said. If the investigator—in this case, Detective N.B. Kesterson—finds probable cause, the department can obtain an arrest warrant, Fitzgerald said.

This is a developing story. The Phi will report more information as it is obtained in future editions and online.