CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants took to the radiowaves, speaking out in his own defense, after being charged with domestic battery.
Last month, a protective order (DVP) was put into place after a complaint was filed with the West Virginia State Police, claiming Plants used excessive force while disciplining his child.
During the interview Tuesday on MetroNews Talkline, Plants said his son was sent to his room after punching his step-brother in the back. He was spanked, then sent to his room with no electronics.
Plants says it wasn't until four days later, a horseshoe shaped bruise was noticed by the boy's brother and a civil attorney and law enforcement were called.
Plants says his son never complained about the spanking.
"I think any elected officials should be above reproach, especially true for the Kanawha County Prosecutor. And the fact that I disciplined my child, I don't think should be used against me. That's my response to that. This is not a crime and I spanked my child and the fact of the matter is I'm a firm believer that if more people spanked their children, we would have less crime. so I don't believe this is an issue I should be attacked over," Plants said.
His interview also comes after the Office of Interdisciplinary Counsel filed a motion to have Plants suspended during the investigation.
"The point about this entire suspension is that that law is applied equally to everybody," Plants said. "There's a process to be followed. We'll follow the process and let the lawyers do their job and let the supreme court make their decision. And I'll abide and respect and decision that they have."
The City of Charleston has also filed a motion for the prosecuting attorney's office to be disqualified from trying cases involving child abuse by a parent or guardian. Plants brought up his own question about this motion, asking, "What if a prosecutor in any county gets a speeding ticket and they fight that, does that mean that their office is kicked off and they are suspended for all speeding tickets?"
Plants can currently have supervised visits with his sons, and is allowed to Skype or FaceTime with them, but is not allowed to text them.
Plants became emotional when talking about his children. "I can handle losing my job, but I can't handle not seeing my kids. I have a passion to be in the courtroom. I love my job, but I'm a dad first. I've raised my children exactly like my father raised me. I'm the youngest of four boys, and they did a pretty good job doing it. If I'm half the dad my dad was, then I've done something right."
During the interview Plants explained the incident in a parking lot, leading to his arrest. He says that he did not intentionally violate a court order to stay away from his children. He says he saw them, sitting unattended in a vehicle and stood with them until their mother came out. He says it was incidental contact and that he's never seen someone charged for that. "That store was robbed a year and a half ago by gunpoint. There's a bus stop that stops right in that parking lot. There are 75 calls or more to the housing area that's right up the street from there. I stood there until my ex-wife got back. That's it. That's what I did."
When asked if he thought about resigning from his position, for the sake of the office, Plants said, "Yes absolutely. If ever I agree that it's in the best interest of the office that I resign, I'll resign tomorrow. Being a prosecutor is not a career job. I love it. I love to be a prosecutor. I love to be in the courtroom, but Mark Plants will go on after this job. There will be another prosecutor after me."
Rounding out his interview, Plants said, "At the end of the day, I'm being attacked and crimes are being alleged against me and I'm being asked to resign or suspended and this all boils down to I applied a form of discipline using a belt that my ex-wife and I both do, even after the divorce. I love my children and I would never ever intentionally harm them. I'd cut my right arm off. I'd never ever intentionally hurt my child."
Plants is scheduled for a status hearing on May 21. During that hearing, two jury trials will be set in this matter