Grand jurors indicted 23 individuals, including three accused of sex crimes and a mother accused of child neglect, in Marshall County on Tuesday.
The alleged sex offenders are: John Harness, 61, of RD 4, Box 322A, Cameron, who was indicted on two counts of sexual abuse by a parent, guardian, custodian or person in a position of trust; Michael Richard Patterson, 35, of 1103 Seventh St., Moundsville or 357 Ridgeview Lane, Moundsville, charged with single counts of incest, second-degree sexual assault, sexual abuse in the first degree and third or subsequent offense driving while his license was revoked for driving under the influence; and Jerry Clyde Hall, 27, of 1418 Pearl St., Moundsville, who was indicted on eight counts of third-degree sexual assault.
Harness allegedly tried to buy the silence of a sexual assault victim with a muzzleloader and other gifts. According to Marshall County sheriff's deputies, the 13-year-old victim reported the abuse to a school resource officer on April 9, telling the officer Harness had touched him inappropriately on several occasions. During an interview a few days later, more details emerged, as the alleged victim told investigators the first incident happened close to Christmas, when he was staying overnight at Harness' home. The boy told deputies Harness later gave him a muzzleloader as gift to keep him from saying anything about the alleged abuse. Deputies said the boy claimed a second incident happened in March during a party.
Patterson was arrested in May for the alleged sexual assault of a female relative. Moundsville Police Detective Shawn Allman said the victim, whose age has not been released, claims the assault took place during a New Year's Eve party at Patterson's residence. Allman said the victim claims Patterson encouraged her to drink with him and a friend and gave her illegal drugs before she laid down on the living room couch and fell asleep.
When she awoke, she claims Patterson was watching pornographic videos; she fell back asleep and when she awoke a second time, she alleged Patterson was having sex with her. Allman said Patterson admitted to having sex with the girl and smoking marijuana with her.
Hall is accused of having sex with an underage girl. He was arrested in March following an investigation by the Moundsville Police Department. According to police, Hall allegedly admitted he had sex with the now-14-year-old girl one time in January, knowing she was underage, but claiming he was drunk at the time. Police said the girl claims Hall has had sex with her at least eight times since December, when she was 13 years old. He is lodged at the Northern Regional Jail.
Meanwhile, Kayla Marie Round, 18, of 48 Dorsey St., Moundsville was indicted for allegedly leaving her infant son alone in her unlocked apartment on March 2 while taking a trip a nearby store. Responding officers said the door to the apartment was unlocked, and that at least 15 minutes elapsed between their arrival at the scene and Round's return to the residence. The child has been placed in foster care through the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. Round was charged with child neglect creating the risk of injury.
Others indicted Tuesday and charges against them were:
Seven additional indictments were handed down, but they were sealed by the court at the request of Prosecutor Jeff Cramer's office.