Kanawha Co. Prosecutor Faces Criminal Charge in Abuse Case

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants is facing a misdemeanor domestic battery charge following an investigation into an abuse complaint filed by his ex-wife.

Plants was charged on Monday with domestic battery. He was later arraigned on the charge in Kanawha County Magistrate Court and released on a $1,000 personal recognizance bond.

This charge comes after Plants' ex-wife filed the complaint with West Virginia State Police back in February claiming Plants used excessive force while disciplining their child. A special prosecutor was appointed to investigate the case.

According to the criminal complaint filed Monday, Plants' ex-wife told police that Plants caused a significant injury to their son's thigh by whipping him with a belt.

Plants' ex-wife took pictures of the injury after she heard their youngest son asking his brother about it, according to the complaint. The investigator assigned to the case says the injury was dark purple to brown in color and was an approximately six to seven inch "U" shaped bruise on the back of the victim's left thigh.

The victim told police he was staying at his dad's (Plants') house when he shoved his step-brother because he was riding his scooter. That's when he says Plants sent him to his room and later came to the room and held him by his arm and hit him "more than ten times" with a leather belt, according to the complaint.

The complaint also states, Plants took his son and had him stand in front of his step-brother and asked, "Do you think I whipped him enough?"

During the investigation, Plants went to his son's home where he agreed to make a statement.

According to the criminal complaint, Plants admitted during the interview he hit his son with a leather belt. Initially, he told officers he hit him "two times," but later said "maybe three or four times" and it lasted "no more than 20 seconds."

Back in February, Plants told WSAZ.com the abuse allegations weren't true.

"For the past ten years, my ex-wife and I have agreed that spanking on occasion is an appropriate form of discipline," Plants said back in February.

On Monday, Plants issued another short statement as he left his arraignment in Charleston.

"I am not guilty of any criminal conduct. At this point, just like any other person accused of a crime I've got to sit back and let the criminal justice system run its course. That's all I have to say at the minute," Plants said.

During Plants arraignment, a burgundy truck, with an unknown driver, circled the courthouse with a sign that read "Prosecute Plants." That sign later showed up, hanging from the Southside Bridge in Charleston.

WSAZ.com tried to talk to the driver, but the person didn't want to comment.

This isn't the first time Plants has been in court since the allegation was made public.

On March 18, Plants was accused of violating a domestic violence petition after police say he made contact with his ex-wife and their two children. Plants was charged with violating it and was later released on bond.

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