Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

November 12, 2013

Former Mercer County school teacher faces more than 20 years in prison under plea agreement

By Greg Jordan
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — Click here to view video:

A former PikeView High School teacher arrested on multiple sexual related charges involving students pleaded guilty Tuesday to sexual abuse first-degree and multiple counts of the distribution of obscene matter to a minor.

Jonathan Kirk, 35, a former physical education teacher and coach at the school, was arrested in March and charged with 18 felony charges including multiple counts of use of obscene matter with intent to seduce a minor; use of minors in filming sexually explicit conduct; distribution and display to minors of obscene matter; sexual abuse by a parent or custodian; and soliciting a minor via computer.

Kirk pleaded guilty to six counts of distribution of obscene matter to a minor and one count of first-degree sexual abuse. The charges carry a maximum of five years in prison on each count. Under the plea agreement, two charges were suspended.

Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler said the state would seek consecutive sentences giving Kirk a total of 20 years in prison. Kirk will also be required to register for the rest of his life as a sex offender, and he will be under supervised probation for 50 years.

Sitler said there were seven victims — all juvenile girls — and there could have been up to a dozen victims.

In a previous report,  Sgt. M.D. Clemons, with the Crimes Against Children Unit of the West Virginia State Police,  said the majority of the charges stemmed from events that occurred on the school grounds and the alleged victims were female students between the ages of 16 and 18 years old.

Clemons said after the hearing that the investigation began in December 2012 when the administrators at PikeView High School received a complaint. The principal then contacted the Mercer County Board of Education, which contacted the state police. The alleged activities, which had been happening on Internet social media, had been going on since 2010.

Kirk was under suspension from the school until the investigation was completed, Clemons said. However, he resigned before the board of education could hold a hearing to see if the suspension would be upheld.

At the time of his arrest, Kirk was residing in Walton, a community in Roane County.