A former Virginia Military Institute cadet charged with sexually assaulting a female classmate was convicted Tuesday of a lesser charge.

Rockbridge County Commonwealth's Attorney Robert Joyce said a rape charge against Stephen J. Lloyd of Mason Neck was reduced to misdemeanor sexual battery Tuesday. He entered an Alford plea, acknowledging enough evidence for a conviction but not admitting guilt.

Joyce said a sodomy charge was dismissed. Circuit Court Judge Michael Irvine delayed imposing a sentence for three years, he said. If Lloyd stays out of trouble, the case will be closed.

The maximum sentence for the charge is a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

The woman testified at a preliminary hearing that Lloyd assaulted her in a campus storage room in March.

This was the first time that a male cadet faced crimal charges of assaulting a female classmate since VMI began admitting women in 1997, according to the school.