Smith charged on assault, abuse counts
A Sistersville man accused of multiple sexual abuse and sexual assault charges returned to Circuit Judge Mark Karl’s courtroom Dec. 18.
Harold Smith, 53, of 100 S. Wells St., Sistersville, is charged with the felony offense of sexual abuse in the first degree, two felony offenses of sexual abuse by a custodian, and one felony charge of sexual abuse in the first degree.
After another victim came forward, Smith was also charged with four counts of sexual assault in the first degree by subjecting a minor child to sexual contact who was incapable of consent because she was less than 11 years old and not married to the defendant to have occurred in 1977 and 1978. He was further charged with two counts of sexual assault in the third degree by engaging in sexual intercourse with the above mentioned minor to have occurred in 1982.
Attorney George Cosenza, representing Smith, filed a motion to dismiss the charges against his client. He said that since the state couldn’t pin down exact dates for the incidents cited in the newer indictment, prosecuting his client would remove his rights of due process.
“There is a pending motion to suspend the indictment. This is an indictment that has allegations of misconduct by my client that occurred approximately 25 to 30 years ago. When the alleged violation took place, the state could not give us a month or a day; just the year it took place. It virtually makes it impossible for my client to defend himself from these allegations without at least having some idea when these offenses took place,” said Cosenza.
Tyler County Prosecuting Attorney Dean Rohrig acknowledged Cosenza’s points. However, it was Rohrig’s opinion that the allegations deserved to be taken seriously.
“As a result of the press coverage in his (earlier) indictment, we had the victim in the (earlier) case make a call to the police department and report the allegations that occurred with her many years ago,” explained Rohrig. “While Mr. Cosenza is correct that because of time and the fact she was a small child at the time, the state is unable to pin down a precise month or date, we think when considered along with the allegations this is not something that lends itself to an alibi defense.”
In order to consider the motion, and to give more time for an examination of the victim to take place, Karl passed both matters over until Jan. 8, 2009, at 10 a.m.
Michael Stevens’ case was passed over until Dec. 30 at 1:30 p.m. Stevens, 39, of Rt. 1 Box 578 B, Middlebourne, is charged with one felony count of manufacturing a controlled substance. The state offered Stevens a plea agreement, but defense attorney Kevin Neiswonger was told to decline the deal.
“We had hoped to have a resolution of this case,” said Neiswonger. “In fact, Mr. Rohrig faxed me a proposed plea agreement. Mr. Stevens and I talked about it for some time. Mr. Stevens indicated that he did not desire to accept the agreement. I also intend on filing a suppression motion challenging the search of Mr. Steven’s residence.”
The following cases were also continued:
William L. Neff will return to court Jan. 8, 2009, at 10 a.m. Neff, 59, of Route 1 Box 221 A1, Middlebourne, is charged with one felony count of manufacturing a controlled substance. Neff is still awaiting formal arraignment and is in the process of securing Attorney John Butler. Neff recently finished serving a misdemeanor sentence at the North Central Regional Jail.
Mark Blouir will return to court Feb. 10, 2009, at 1 p.m. Blouir, 30, of Route 2 Box 60, Pennsboro, is charged with one felony count of obtaining money by false pretenses. He was represented by Ira Haught.
Abe Wildman’s case was continued until Jan. 8, 2009, at 10 a.m. Wildman, 19, of 408 South Third Ave., Paden City, is charged with one felony count of manufacturing a controlled substance. Wildman was part of a sting that netted his mother and father as well.
Robert Wildman, 54, pled guilty to one felony count of manufacturing of a controlled substance for growing marijuana and was placed on two years probation.
Melissa Wildman, 38, is charged with five felony counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, and one felony count of manufacturing of a controlled substance. She will return to court Jan. 13. Abe was represented by Scott Brown.
Steven Wedekamm will return to court Feb. 10, 2009, at 1 p.m. Wedekamm, 40, 313 Hickman Run Road, Sistersville, is charged with one felony count of child abuse resulting in injury. Wedekamm was represented by Consenza.
Jennifer Moffitt’s case was continued until Dec. 30 at 1:30 p.m. Moffitt, 31, 1422 Pleasant Ridge Road, Sistersville, is charged with one felony count of attempting to operate a clandestine drug laboratory, one felony count of possession of substances to be used as a precursor to manufacture of methamphetamine, and one felony count of exposure of children to methamphetamine manufacturing.