Bradley S. Barrett
Bradley S. Barrett came before the Taylor County Circuit Court Monday afternoon and entered pleas of guilty to all four counts of first-degree sexual abuse. As part of a plea agreement with the State of West Virginia, Barrett agreed to enter the guilty pleas and request a pre-sentence investigation. The State agrees to withhold sentencing pending the outcome of the investigation.
Taylor County Circuit Court Judge Alan D. Moats explained Barrett’s right to plea not guilty, and through a series of questions ascertained that the guilty pleas were freely given and in no way coerced. Within the confines of the questioning, Barrett stated that the only drugs he has ingested since his incarceration have been prescribed by a doctor for his stage-three colon cancer, for which he had surgery in March of this year.
Barrett entered the courtroom straight from the Tygart Valley Regional Jail under heavy guard. Seated beside his attorney, Howard Ferris, Barrett answered all of Judge Moats’ questions.
Judge Moats explained to Barrett that on October 1, 2006, the penalty for first degree sexual abuse had been raised from not less than one nor more than five years, to not less than five nor more than twenty-five years in the West Virginia State Penitentiary. It was determined that the charges against him were all prior to the October 1, 2006 date, and that his maximum sentence for all counts combined will be not less than four nor more than twenty years.
Judge Moats asked both Barrett and Ferris if they both feel that they have had the proper amount of time to investigate these charges and prepare to enter the aforementioned pleas. Judge Moats then asked if Barrett was satisfied with the representation that Ferris is providing him. After gaining affirmative responses from both, Judge Moats explained to Barrett that he should understand that other charges may be pending in other West Virginia counties and through Federal Court.
Barrett stated that he understands that other charges may be forthcoming, and when asked to enter his pleas on count one, two, three and four, he responded with the singular “guilty” for each count.
Judge Moats asked Barrett to explain the circumstances that lead to his arrest on September 9, 2009. Barrett explained that he was prepared for law enforcement to arrive because he had requested to take a child out of town a few days prior to his arrest, and the mother stated that she knew of Barrett’s alleged activities and was going to call the police.
According to Barrett, Taylor County Sheriff Robert H. Beltner and Sergeant Dayton Mayle came to his house on September 9 and he had told them that he wanted to speak to a lawyer first, and was informed that he needed to go to the Sheriff’s Department after contacting his lawyer. After law enforcement left, he called Sergeant Mayle to speak of the allegations, mentioned a lawyer again, and was again informed that he needed to go to the department.
Barrett stated that he arrived at the Sheriff’s Department a little while later and was read his Miranda Rights. He claimed that no one had threatened him in any way and that he was treated well as he voluntarily talked to them about the situation. Judge Moats presented Barrett with a copy of the Miranda document that he had signed, and he confirmed that the signature was his.
“I assumed that I would not be leaving,” Barrett explained. “I knew I would be under arrest.”
When asked what he did that made him guilty, Barrett stated that he had touched the victims, all girls under 12, through their clothing in the breast and vagina areas. He stated that the incidents had taken place both at his home, and at the home of the victims.
Judge Moats then asked Barrett, if he had ever told anyone about the alleged incidents.
“I did tell the pastor of my church,” Barrett stated.
Barrett went on to explain that after the first alleged incident, he, and the parents of the girl talked with Pastor Craig Johnson at the Oak Grove Baptist Church. At that time, Barrett promised to never let it happen again, and was relieved of his duties as church bus driver. He stated that Pastor Johnson had told him that he needed counseling, and Johnson would help him get counseling. It was later learned by Johnson and Barrett, that if Barrett sought counseling, the counselor would have to advise law enforcement of Barrett’s conduct.
Barrett later explained that a deacon in the church had made Pastor Johnson aware of the situation after the police were contacted, and Pastor Johnson met with him the day before his arrest.
Barrett stated that Pastor Johnson had told him that he was very close to going to jail, and they prayed about it. He further stated that he had asked Pastor Johnson if he should turn himself in, and Pastor Johnson implied that he should wait to be arrested.
“This is a case where back in 2005, people learned about the defendant’s conduct and did nothing,” stated Taylor County Prosecuting Attorney John L. Bord. “Now we have more child victims. Barrett could have been stopped back in 2005.”
The Court then accepted Barrett’s guilty pleas, and remanded him back into the Tygart Valley Regional Jail pending the outcome of the pre-sentence investigation.
Barrett’s attorney, Howard Ferris, asked once again that the Court consider a more reasonable bond.
“These cases, coupled with other allegations including possible Federal charges, the exposure is extreme,” Judge Moats stated. “Now, that you have been convicted of these charges, that request is denied.”