WCHS Eyewitness News Home Charleston Eyewitness Newsroom Charleston Storm Team Weather Sports News TV Program Schedule Community Mobile: Smartphone,Tablet and SMS text Get Connected SMS Text Facebook Twitter See-It,Shoot-It RSS News Feed Email List Tumblr


Hearing On Mingo County Middle School Sexual Abuse Allegations Takes Place Behind Closed Doors

Reported: May. 16, 2014 10:45 AM EDT
Updated: May. 16, 2014 11:43 PM EDT
EYEWITNESS NEWS ONLINE WEBCAST VIDEO

News Image

MINGO COUNTY, W.Va. (Stefano DiPietrantonio) - West Virginia's Attorney General was in court in Mingo County Friday, trying to get an injunction in a sexual abuse case. Patrick Morrisey said the injunction is needed to protect the civil rights of girls attending Burch Middle School.

Court documents filed by Morrisey allege officials at the school and the county board office covered up reports that girls had been sexually abused by two male students at Burch.

Morrisey said the two girls who came forward were actually punished and the boys were protected. Unlike many states, West Virginia's attorney general has almost no law enforcement powers, so Morrisey has filed a civil case.

School officials have admitted no wrongdoing and declined comment. The judge did not consider issuing the injunction Friday, but Morrisey contends some progress happened in closed door sessions.

“The fact is that we have had some discussions with a number of the attorneys on the other side. We're in the process of making progress towards ultimately achieving the end to assure children's rights under the civil rights laws are protected,” Morrisey said.

State troopers are conducting a separate criminal investigation and planned to meet with the county prosecutor to discuss it Friday. The State Human Rights Commission has joined with Morrisey in seeking the injunction.

We wanted to delve into the possible long-term effects this controversy could have for the multiple girls at Burch Middle School and where could this leave the girls years after this is resolved.

"Good old boy system here in Mingo County, and it's not about what's right or what's wrong, it's about what political side you're on," Mark Duane Curry of Williamson said.

"This is something more, than just what's happening at a school in West Virginia, this is happening all over the country, where people challenge authorities, because of some position of status or power, they're able to get away with something, that other people wouldn't get away with," Dr. David Clayman, who is a forensic psychologist in Charleston, said.

He said the long-term effects on those girls will be serious. And warns, parents of the victims will have to really keep an eye on their child's behavior, because one of two scenarios often results from cases like this.

"Children who are exposed to a situation such as this, either end-up distrusting the system so much, that they misbehave themselves, or distrust the system so much, that they don't want to do anything and will not trust anybody else," Clayman said.

Hester Keatley was one of the people in a position of trust. She filled in as a guidance counselor at Burch Middle School briefly last year when the accusations were flying.

"I just need to know what I'm supposed to have done," she said to us inside the Mingo County Courthouse Friday. Or as the injunction stated, what she did not do. Keatley has said she had reported two incidents to the principal at the time, but not to authorities, as State Code dictates she should have. She told us to talk with her lawyer.

"Course I've not been served any papers or anything as of yet," Keatley said.

Keatley, by the way, was running for the Mingo County Board Of Education, but she lost that bid Tuesday. State Police are handling the criminal sexual assault aspect of this case. And so far no one has been charged or arrested.




WILLIAMSON, W.Va. (Bob Aaron, Jeff Morris) – A hearing regarding the sexual abuse controversy in Mingo County took place behind closed doors on Friday with a judge at the Mingo County Courthouse.

Senior Status Judge John Cummings is hearing the matter after administrators at Burch Middle School and Mingo County school officials were accused of covering up sexual abuse allegations brought forth by two girls.

On Friday, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey was at the closed hearing along with school officials and their attorneys. During the hearing, the judge decided to have the parties involved meet without him being present to try to work out a compromise. Morrisey said they made some progress and that the goal is to ensure the two girls receive a safe and secure education without being harassed.

Last week, Morrisey filed a civil rights injunction against the Mingo Board of Education, Mingo County Superintendent Randy Keathley and staff members at the school, including Principal Melissa Webb.

Morrisey claimed they failed to investigate allegations of sexual abuse against two girls by two boys at the school, even retaliated against the girls. The complaint indicates at least one of the boys had relatives within the school system.

-- MGN Online/Wiki Commons Photo



MORE NEWS FROM EYEWITNESS NEWS
Surveillance Photos Released In South Charleston Robbery
News
Jul. 22, 2014 12:53 PM EDT
The South Charleston Police Department has released ...
Full News Story

WVU Baseball Player Signs With Pro Team
News
Jul. 22, 2014 12:37 PM EDT
A West Virginia University baseball player is trading ...
Full News Story

Charleston Police Release Name Of Victim Wounded In East End Shooting
News
Jul. 22, 2014 12:58 PM EDT
Charleston police released the name of the man who ...
Full News Story and Video


News Well-Being Of WV Children Improves; State Ranks 37th
Jul. 22, 2014 11:32 AM EDT
News Independent Ed Rabel To Seek Congressional Seat
Jul. 22, 2014 11:17 AM EDT
News Wayne County Schools Names Superintendent
Jul. 22, 2014 1:22 PM EDT
News Annual River Float Expected To Make Big Splash Saturday
Jul. 22, 2014 11:00 AM EDT
News Trailer Owner Finds Abandoned Meth Lab Near Backyard
Jul. 22, 2014 10:25 AM EDT
News WV Inmate Who Escaped In May Captured In VA
Jul. 22, 2014 9:16 AM EDT
News Former Mercer County Teacher Pleads Guilty To Sex Charges
Jul. 22, 2014 9:22 AM EDT
News Dirty Girl Mud Run Meeting Set For Tuesday Morning Postponed
Jul. 22, 2014 12:55 PM EDT
News Troopers Say Man Arrested In Child Neglect Case
Jul. 22, 2014 10:22 AM EDT
News Freedom Industries In Bankruptcy Court Tuesday
Jul. 22, 2014 7:54 AM EDT
News Baby Dies From Malnutrition After Police Say Parents Used WIC Money To Buy Drugs
Jul. 21, 2014 11:53 PM EDT
News Women Express Outrage Over Dirty Girl Mud Run Flap
Jul. 22, 2014 7:44 AM EDT
News Shoppers Travel Across Counties To Shop At Newly Expanded Kroger
Jul. 22, 2014 12:56 PM EDT
News Livestock Competition Big Part Of Cabell County Fair
Jul. 22, 2014 11:06 AM EDT
News Local Sporting Goods Store Thriving
Jul. 22, 2014 1:18 PM EDT
News WV Family Fights For 13-Month-Old Daughter To Be An Organ Donor After Tragic Death
Jul. 22, 2014 11:22 AM EDT
News Uncertainty Swirls Around Saturday's Scheduled Event
Jul. 22, 2014 7:46 AM EDT
News High-Profile Murder Case May Have Federal Implications
Jul. 21, 2014 5:21 PM EDT
News Two Boone County Volunteer Firefighters Face Charges
Jul. 21, 2014 5:02 PM EDT
News Lincoln Man Accused Of Leaving Children Home Unattended
Jul. 21, 2014 4:24 PM EDT
News A.D. Lewis Center Offers Free Swimming, Basketball Camps
Jul. 21, 2014 3:50 PM EDT
News WV Democrats Want Two GOP Candidates Off Ballot
Jul. 21, 2014 3:23 PM EDT
News Three Still Being Treated For Injuries In Nicholas County Crash
Jul. 21, 2014 1:55 PM EDT
News Woman Accused Of Stealing During Open Houses Pleads Guilty In Case
Jul. 21, 2014 1:07 PM EDT
News Woman Chains Herself To Doghouse At State Capitol
Jul. 21, 2014 12:43 PM EDT
News Obama Calls For Immediate Access To Crash Site
Jul. 21, 2014 11:59 AM EDT
News Man Accused Of Threatening, Physically Abusing Girlfriend
Jul. 21, 2014 11:32 AM EDT
News "Ya Gotta Regatta" In Huntington This Weekend
Jul. 21, 2014 12:31 PM EDT
News Man Pleads Guilty In Charleston Murder Case
Jul. 21, 2014 12:27 PM EDT
News The Greenbrier Unveiling Training Facilities As Saints Arrive This Week
Jul. 21, 2014 12:29 PM EDT


Advertise on WCHS-TV Online

West Virginia News
Ex-miner asks Congress for help on black lung

A retired coal miner who suffers from black lung disease has urged Congress to help clear a backlog of claims of fellow miners who have the disease.
Full Story

Kentucky News
Louisville AD Jurich gets Maker's Mark bottle

Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich is the latest Cardinal to get his own bourbon bottle.
Full Story

Ohio News
Ohio AG rival wants probe of DeWine bid process

His Democratic rival wants federal authorities to investigate Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's handling of lucrative collections contracts in the wake of a newspaper investigation.
Full Story







Fugitive Files Tuesdays at 6 PM on Eyewitness News

West Virginia Wildlife Wednesdays at 6 PM on Eyewitness News

ABC News web site







Send Mail Send email to news@wchstv.com for information or comments concerning WCHS-TV Eyewitness News.
Copyright ©2014, WCHS-TV8. Portions are Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or distributed.

WCHS ABC 8 provides local news, weather forecasts, traffic updates, notices of events and items of interest in the community, sports and entertainment programming for Charleston and nearby towns and communities in the Tri-State area, including Huntington, Dunbar, Marmet, Montgomery, Nitro, South Charleston, St. Albans, Cedar Grove, Chesapeake, Clendenin, East Bank, Glasgow, Pratt, Cross Lanes, Elkview, Pinch, Sissonville, Big Chimney, Cabin Creek, Chelyan, Davis Creek, Institute, Jefferson, Loudendale, Mink Shoals, Pocatalico, Quick, Quincy, Rand, Buffalo, Eleanor, Hurricane, Nitro, Poca, Winfield, Culloden, Fraziers Bottom, Hometown, Red House, Scott Depot, Teays Valley, Danville, Madison, Hamlin, Logan, Chapmanville, Man, Delbarton, Kermit, Gilbert, Matewan, Williamson, Summersville, Richwood, Flatwoods, Gassaway, Sutton, Spencer, Ravenswood, Ripley, Mason, Point Pleasant, Ashland, Pikeville, Ironton, Portsmouth, Gallipolis, and Athens.