WSAZ - Local News and Breaking News Coverage for West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky

UPDATE: Special Prosecutor Selected in Mark Plants Abuse Complaint


UPDATE 3/14/14 @ 4:11 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A special prosecutor has been named to the abuse complaint filed against Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants.

Friday afternoon, the West Virginia Supreme Court announced that Sidney H. Bell, retired McDowell County prosecutor, was appointed to the case.

The appointment follows a recent order disqualifying the Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney's office.

West Virginia State Police issued a news release last month that they received a complaint related to an allegation of child abuse involving Plants. State Police say, "Plants' ex-wife claimed that he abused one of his children by disciplining him in an excessive manner."

Plants has not been charged in this investigation. Plants has also denied the allegations.

Another hearing has been set for March 21 at 9:30 a.m.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 3/5/14 @ 2:15 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A hearing involving a complaint filed against Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants has been postponed.

Family Court Judge Patricia Keller, Cabell County, tells WSAZ.com the hearing is now set for March 21 at 9:30 a.m.

West Virginia State Police issued a news release that they received a complaint related to an allegation of child abuse involving Plants. State Police say, "Plants' ex-wife claimed that he abused one of his children by disciplining him in an excessive manner."

Plants has not been charged in this investigation. Plants has also denied the allegations.

Mike Clifford, an attorney representing Plants' ex-wife, said a domestic violence petition has been granted against Plants. Clifford said a hearing was set for March 5 to discuss that petition. The petition means Plants cannot have any contact until a final hearing.

Judge Keller says the delay was a logistics issue of finding time on the schedule that would work for all involved. She says their priority was getting the case in as soon as possible.

Keller says the hearing will be private, only those involved, their attorneys and witnesses will be allowed in the courtroom.

Judge Keller was appointed to the case by the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.

The Supreme Court also issued an order assigning Circuit Court Judge Derek C. Swope to preside over any proceedings relating to the state police investigation relating to Plants. Swope is from Mercer County.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 2/28/14 @ 11:30 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A judge outside of Kanawha County has been appointed to the case involving a complaint filed against Prosecutor Mark Plants.

West Virginia State Police issued a news release Thursday that they received a complaint related to an allegation of child abuse involving Plants. State Police say "Plants' ex-wife claimed that he abused one of his children by disciplining him in an excessive manner."

Plants has not been charged in this investigation.

Plants also denied the allegations during a news conference on Thursday.

"For the past ten years, my ex-wife and I have agreed that spanking on occasion is an appropriate form of discipline," Plants said during the news conference. "I know some people disapprove of that, but both my ex-wife and I agree it is appropriate at times. We both spank our children."

The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia issued an order Friday appointing Family Court Judge Patricia Keller to the case. Keller is from Cabell County.

The Supreme Court also issued an order assigning Circuit Court Judge Derek C. Swope to preside over any proceedings relating to the state police investigation relating to Plants. Swope is from Mercer County.

Mike Clifford, an attorney representing Plants' ex-wife, said a domestic violence petition has been granted against Plants. Clifford said the petition means Plants cannot have any contact until a final hearing on March 5.



ORIGINAL STORY 2/27/14
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants held a news conference to respond to a complaint that was filed against him involving one of his children.

West Virginia State Police issued a news release Thursday that they received a complaint related to an allegation of child abuse involving Plants. State Police say "Plants' ex-wife claimed that he abused one of his children by disciplining him in an excessive manner."

During the news conference, Plants says as parents they agreed to spank their children. However, the release issued by state police does not indicate what type of alleged abuse may have taken place.

"For the past ten years, my ex-wife and I have agreed that spanking on occasion is an appropriate form of discipline," Plants said. "I know some people disapprove of that, but both my ex-wife and I agree it is appropriate at times. We both spank our children."

Plants says this only became an issue after he remarried and his ex-wife hired an attorney.

Mike Clifford, an attorney representing Plants' ex-wife, said a domestic violence petition has been granted against Plants.

Clifford said the petition means Plants cannot have any contact until a final hearing on March 5.

"I don't come to you as a prosecutor, I come to you as a father," Plants said. "As a father, I am absolutely disgusted that my children are being involved in political mudslinging, political motivated accusations."

Plants says his job may be a prosecutor, but his most important job in life is being a dad.

Plants' news conference only lasted about two minutes. He did not take questions from the media.

"I love my children, my children love me. I am very involved in all of their sports," Plants said. "I am an elected prosecutor, but my number one most important job is to raise respectful, law abiding children. If we have more parents who raised their children in a respectful manner, we would likely have less criminals."

WSAZ.com contacted Plants' ex-wife, but she did not want to comment. She said she was meeting with her attorney.

Sergeant M.S. Adams, of the West Virginia State Police Crimes Against Children Unit has been assigned to investigate the complaint, according to Lieutenant Michael Baylous, spokesperson for West Virginia State Police.

However, investigators are not releasing anymore information about the case.

Plants has not been charged.

These allegations come just weeks after a WSAZ investigation into accusations of favoritism in the prosecutor's office. The Office of Disciplinary Counsel has also launched an investigation into Plants and two of his employees. Plants denied any wrong doing when it comes to playing favorites in his office. Again, this investigation is not related to the complaint filed Wednesday to state police.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
WSAZ NewsChannel 3 645 Fifth Avenue Huntington, WV 25701 304-697-4780 WSAZ Charleston 111 Columbia Avenue Charleston, WV 25302 304-344-3521
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 247608011 - wsaz.com/a?a=247608011