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Neff pleads guilty to abuse by parent

By Staff | Apr 9, 2014

On Thursday in Tyler County Circuit Court William B. Neff pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual abuse by a parent.

-two of 14 felony sexual offense charges levied against him.

Neff, 51, of Rt. 1 Box 13B, Middlebourne, was charged with 14 separate felony sexual offenses handed down from the October 2013 and February 2014 terms of the Tyler County grand jury.

While Neff had appeared in court Thursday for general proceedings, Attorney John Gainer of the Public Defender Corporation and Prosecutor Furbee informed Judge Mark A. Karl they had reached an agreement.

In exchange for the admissions of guilt to the two counts, the state agreed to dismiss the other 12 counts in the two indictments.

After a series of questions relating to Neff’s understanding of the charges and the penalties associated with them, Karl also advised the defendant of his rights to a trial and his right to insist on a plea of innocence. He was also informed of the maximum sentence that could be imposed along with all the conditions of probation. He was questioned as to his ability to read and write and whether he had sufficient time to consult with his attorney considering the plea agreement. Once Karl was satisfied with the defendant’s answers, he asked Neff if he was ready to enter a plea.

Neff answered in the affirmative, saying, “Yes, sir, I am.”

After pleading guilty, Neff told the court he was guilty of both counts because he had touched the private areas of the victim for sexual gratification.

Prosecutor Furbee explained to the court the evidence in the case, saying the victim had told a teacher he had watched a pornographic movie with the defendant, who touched him inappropriately. Further, the teacher said the victim said the defendant made a motion like he would cut the child’s neck if he told anyone. The child gave some further, more graphic, statements of alleged abuse.

Another victim gave similar statements about incidents involving the defendant and a pornographic movie.

Judge Karl then asked the defendant and his attorney, Gainer, if they disagreed with anything the state had presented as evidence. Both answered that they did not.

“The court finds there is a factual basis for the pleas and the court will enter them into the record,” said Karl.

Karl told Neff that he would allow him time for his attorney to argue sentencing, but the state is going to recommend a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 20 years on each count with the sentence to run consecutive.

Judge Karl set a sentencing hearing for May 23 at 1:30 p.m. He then remanded Neff back to jail.