Court News

Court News

Prosecutor Says Ohio Priest (Ex-Spencer) Abuse Charges Valid

The Gilmer Free Press

Prosecutors are urging a federal judge to reject an Ohio priest’s contention that he was charged too late with allegedly sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy he took to West Virginia more than two decades ago.

Robert Poandl (POHN’-duhl), of the Cincinnati-based Glenmary Home Missioners, has pleaded not guilty to sexually abusing the boy while the two visited a church in Spencer, WV, in 1991.

His attorney has asked U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett to throw out the case, saying a five-year statute of limitations should apply.

Prosecutors are responding in a filing made Monday that federal law changes have been clearly meant to extend the time for child sexual abuse charges.

It says Poandl’s argument his conduct isn’t covered is “unpersuasive, if not absurd.“

His trial is scheduled August 26, 2013.

Feds: Clarksburg Police Chief, Officer Out to Avoid Charges

The Gilmer Free Press

The Clarksburg police chief and a lieutenant have agreed to step down to avoid federal criminal charges related to the delayed arrest of a city councilman in a domestic assault case, a federal prosecutor said Tuesday.

U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld II announced that the chief, Marshall Goff, and Lt. Tim Smith are accused of civil rights violations and making false statements to federal authorities. Both resigned on Monday.

Clarksburg police were called to councilman Sam “Zeke” Lopez’s home on April 02, where his wife claimed Lopez pinned her down, hit her with a rolling pin and dumped food on her during an argument. Lopez was arrested July 3 and charged with one count of domestic battery.

“Goff and Smith became involved in the response and the actions that they took led to a separate investigation into their handling of the case,“ Ihlenfeld said in a news release.

Lopez was re-elected to Clarksburg City Council in June.

Goff did not immediately return a message left at his home. His attorney was in depositions and wasn’t immediately available. A telephone number for Smith wasn’t available.

Both men are barred from ever working as police officers again. They agreed to cooperate with authorities in the investigation into the handling of the Lopez case, Ihlenfeld said. The prosecutor said it was unclear if other officials would face charges.

Goff became chief in 2007 after 23 years with the department. He spent five years in the Anmoore Police Department before starting work in Clarksburg.

Media outlets reported that the city named Lt. Robert Hillard as the interim police chief on Tuesday. City Manager Martin Howe did not immediately return telephone and email messages seeking comment.

The federal case is separate from Lopez’s battery case, which is being handled by a special prosecuting attorney from Marion County.

WV Judge Resets Lunsford Probation Hearing


A judge has delayed a hearing on whether probation should be revoked for the mother of a missing West Virginia girl.

Lena Lunsford has been arrested twice in two weeks for violating the terms of her supervised release.

Lunsford served eight months in prison for welfare fraud after her 3-year-old daughter Aliayah (uh-LEE-uh) disappeared from their Lewis County home.

The child has never been found, and no one has been charged in her disappearance.

Probation officials are now recommending a judge revoke her probation. They say Lunsford has been maintaining contact with a convicted felon.

At Lunsford’s request, U.S. Magistrate James Seibert has rescheduled the hearing originally set for Monday in Wheeling to Thursday morning.

Former Weston Bank Branch Manager Pleads Gulty in Federal Court to Embezzling Nearly $250,000

The Gilmer Free Press

United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, announced that DEBORAH D. RADCLIFF, age 51, of Weston,  West Virginia,  a former branch manager of the Weston branch of Huntington National Bank entered pleas of guilty on July 03, 2013, before Magistrate Judge John S. Kaull.

RADCLIFF entered pleas of guilty to one count of “Embezzlement by a Bank Employee” and one count of “Structuring.”

During the period July 01, 2011, to November 05, 2012, while serving as the branch manager, RADCLIFF embezzled and misapplied $247,249.88 from depositors’ accounts and engaged in acts of structuring to cause the bank to fail to file a Currency Transaction Report for currency transactions of $10,000 or more.

To execute the scheme, RADCLIFF utilized her position as branch manager to issue or direct to be issued cashier’s checks from funds withdrawn from depositors’ accounts issued in the name of the depositor.

RADCLIFF would take possession of the cashier’s check, forge the name of the depositor and cash the checks for her own personal benefit.

The ages of the alleged victims ranged from 56 to 90 years, with all but one alleged victim 64 years or older.

As a branch bank manager, RADCLIFF was aware of banking   rules and regulations requiring banks   to file reports for single financial transactions of more than $10,000.

To conceal her embezzlement from the customer’s account, she would have multiple cashier’s checks issued for less than $10,000, which she would cash on different days.

On one of those instances, RADCLIFF withdrew $16,407.96 from an 84- year old customer’s account on May 02, 2012, splitting the embezzlement into two separate cashier’s checks in the amount of $8,203.98, then cashed one of the checks that day and the other five days later.

RADCLIFF,  who is free on bond   pending   sentencing,  faces up   to 40 years imprisonment, a $1,500,000 fine and an order of restitution of $247,249.88.

Huntington National Bank has restored all of the customers’ money to their accounts.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John C. Parr and investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service,  with
cooperation from the Huntington National Bank’s Corporate Security office.

Ex-Spencer Priest Says Abuse Charges Filed Too Late

The Gilmer Free Press

A Cincinnati, Ohio priest accused of taking a 10-year-old boy to West Virginia for sex more than two decades ago says the government waited too long to file charges and he wants the case dismissed.

Robert Poandl, of the Fairfield-based Glenmary Home Missioners, has pleaded not guilty to sexually abusing the boy while the two visited a church in Spencer, WV, in 1991.

Poandl is out of jail on the condition that he has no contact with children.

A jury trial is scheduled for August 26, 2013.

Poandl’s attorney said in a court filing that a five-year statute of limitations applies to the charges, which were filed 21 years after the alleged abuse.

The government has yet to file its response to Poandl’s request.

WV Juvenile Justice Group Will Broaden Focus, Study Services to Help Kids Re-Enter Society

The Gilmer Free Press

A commission studying West Virginia’s juvenile justice system says it will broaden its focus to look at all out-of-home placements for troubled kids, not just detention centers.

The Adjudicated Juvenile Rehabilitation Review Commission announced Friday it also wants to study and improve services for juveniles to help them prepare for a successful re-entry to society.

That includes ensuring they have legal representation and support services.

State Supreme Court Justice Margaret Workman chairs the commission.

She says the National Center for Youth in Custody and the American Bar Association have urged all states to develop plans to monitor juvenile programs and ensure they comply with national standards.

West Virginia appointed Cindy Largent-Hill to oversee that task, and her work will also now expand to include those discharge services for young offenders.

Jury: Ex-WV Candidate Hiram Lewis Not Guilty in Shooting

The Gilmer Free Press

A Clay County jury has found a former U.S. Senate candidate not guilty of charges stemming from a shooting incident.

Hiram Lewis was charged with malicious wounding and domestic assault following the June 2012 shooting at his home in Procious.

He testified during the trial that he shot Stephen Bogart in the leg after Bogart broke into his home.

Media outlets report that the jury found Lewis not guilty on Wednesday night.

Lewis, a Republican, made an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate in 2006.

He also made unsuccessful runs for state attorney general in 2004 and 2008.

Gilmer County Family Court Report – 06.26.13

The Gilmer Free Press

Family Court Judge Larry Whited presided over Family Court in Gilmer County on Wednesday June 26, 2013.

•  He entered a temporary order in a modification case.

•  He continued a final divorce hearing until Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 11:00 AM.

•  He heard a modification hearing (with attorneys so no order has been entered yet).

•  He heard a contempt hearing (also with an attorney).

•  He dismissed one domestic violence case after a lengthy hearing.

•  He heard another case with attorneys.

•  He granted one divorce between Lili Parker Johnson(53) of Linn, WV divorcing John W. Johnson (75) of Tampa, Florida.

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report – 06.24.13

The Gilmer Free Press

On Monday June 24, 213 Chief Judge Richard A. Facemire held his regular monthly motion day.

Three fugitives waived extradition as follows:

•  Jeremy Wolfe waived to return to Kanawha County, WV; Dominick Mackey and Nakia Barnes both waived to return to the state of Maryland.

All 3 were represented by Kevin Hughart of Sissonville and authorities have until 4:00 PM on Wednesday, July 03, 2013 to pick the individuals up at Central Regional Jail or they will be released.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Carrie Sumpter

She was before the Court for sentencing and Judge Facemire ordered her to undergo 60 days diagnosis and classification and to undergo psychiatric and substance abuse evaluations prior to being sentenced Monday, September 23, 2013 at 9:30 AM.

She was represented by David Karickhoff of Sutton.

•  Several juvenile matters were heard and reset as follows, one was dismissed, one was reset for Monday, October 28, 2013 at 9:00 AM, one for Monday, September 23, 2013 at 9:00 AM, one for Thursday, August 08, 2013 at 9:00 AM, and the final one for Monday, September 23, 2013 at 9:45 AM.

•  One name change was heard and granted.

•  A bound over case of State of West Virginia vs. Conner Smith

He was before the court on motion by the defense for competency evaluation.

Said motion was granted and Smith will self-report for evaluation upon the prosecuting attorney setting up the appointment.

Smith was represented by Bryan Hinkie of Buckhannon.

U.S. Supreme Court Voids Key Part of Voting Rights Act

The Gilmer Free Press

The Supreme Court says a key provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act cannot be enforced until Congress comes up with a new way of determining which states and localities require close federal monitoring of elections.

The justices said in 5-4 ruling Tuesday that the law Congress most recently renewed in 2006 relies on 40-year-old data that doesn’t reflect racial progress and changes in U.S. society.

The court did not strike down the advance approval requirement of the law that has been used, mainly in the South, to open up polling places to minority voters in the nearly half century since it was first enacted in 1965.

But they said lawmakers must update the formula for determining which parts of the country must seek Washington’s approval for election changes.

Calhoun County: Sentencing of Woman Convicted of Killing Her Child Pushed Back to December

The Gilmer Free Press

Sentencing of Ashley Kreh’s was delayed to the for the second time Monday, June 24, 2013.

Ashley Kreh was convicted of killing her 2-year-old daughter.

The child died in February 2012.

Ashley Kreh was responsible for the girl’s head injury, but police contend both failed to get her timely medical help.

The sentencing is on hold until her boyfriend, Ordie Rogers, is tried for child neglect causing death.

Ordie Rogers faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Ashley’s sentencing has been moved to Friday, December 20, 2013, three days after the scheduled start of Rogers’ trial.

Ashley faces up to 40 years in prison for child abuse causing a death.

WVU Lawyer Wants Out of Degree-Scandal Lawsuit

The Gilmer Free Press

The former academic integrity officer at West Virginia University says a judge should dismiss her from a lawsuit over a 6-year-old master’s degree scandal.

Attorney Marjorie McDiarmid calls the latest complaint by two former business school deans caught up in a 2007 scandal involving a former governor’s daughter a “cut and paste job” that raises no new issues.

Former dean Stephen Sears and former associate dean Cyril Logar say WVU has ignored its obligation to repair their tarnished reputations since an academic-misconduct investigation ended. They accuse WVU of breach of contract and denial of their due-process rights.

But McDiarmid argues in a motion in U.S. District Court that if anyone had a contract with them, it wasn’t her, so it’s “silly” to sue her. She also argues the complaint is so vague it’s impossible to determine what she allegedly did wrong.

WVU hasn’t commented on the case. It has until June 26 to respond.

McDiarmid argues there are no grounds for a claim against her, and she’s demanding the plaintiffs pay her legal fees.

They “have sued or attempted to sue her three times in two different courts over a period of more than four years” over the same situation, the motion says, and all failed. The new claims are “the very definition of vexation, frivolous, unreasonable and without foundation.“

Last summer, WVU said there would be no further action against anyone involved in altering transcripts, creating grades and awarding an executive master of business administration degree to Heather Bresch.

She’s the chief executive officer of Pennsylvania-based generic drug maker Mylan Inc. and the daughter of former governor and U.S. Senator Joe Manchin and WV Board of Education Vice-President Gayle Manchin.

An independent investigation found that administrators added courses and grades to her transcript. The investigators ruled that Sears, Logar and others “showed seriously flawed judgment.“

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