The Attorney General’s office has confirmed filing a civil action in Mingo County Circuit Court as part of an investigation into alleged sexual abuse and assaults at Burch Middle School. The Office noted that a separate action has also been filed by the West Virginia Human Rights Commission.
The filing states multiple juvenile females attending BMS in Mingo County were allegedly subjected to repeated incidents of sexual abuse and/or sexual assault by two fellow male students, and then threatened with discipline and/or retaliated against by members of the Burch Middle School administration.
The AG’s office, the West Virginia State Police and the WVHRC are working cooperatively on the ongoing investigation.
Defendants named in the complaint are Burch Middle School Principal Melissa Webb, Burch Middle School Vice Principal Deanna Maynard, guidance counselor Hester Keatley, teacher and athletic coach Melvin Cunningham, Mingo County Schools Superintendent Randy Keathley, the Mingo County Board of Education, a student listed as Juvenile 1, the mother and father of Juvenile 1, a student listed as Juvenile 2, and the mother and father of Juvenile 2.
“The juvenile females are entitled as a matter of law to obtain an education at a public school free of unwanted sexual abuse and harassment, and to not have their education suffered, deprived and/or interfered with for the benefit of the juvenile Defendants,” Morrisey said. “The Defendants intentionally disregarded and violated school policies intended to protect the juvenile female victims at Burch Middle School. In particular, Defendants allowed and concealed sexual violence and sexual harassment at Burch Middle School in direct contravention of school policy and the West Virginia Human Rights Act.”
The action was filed in Mingo County Circuit Court. It was assigned case number 14-C-77. A copy of the filed complaint can be found online on the Attourney General’s website.