Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

July 12, 2014

Kirk plea expected soon

PRINCETON — A pre-trial hearing that was originally scheduled Friday morning for a former Mercer County teacher who was charged earlier this year with several felony counts related to alleged sexual relationships with several PikeView High School students was canceled because the defendant intends to enter a plea in the case, according to a spokesperson for Mercer County Circuit Judge William Sadler.

Jonathan Kirk, 34, now of Walton, is alleged to have had inappropriate relationships with a number of PVHS female students from 2010 to 2012. His trial on the charges was scheduled to start on July 29. The plea hearing had not been scheduled as of Friday afternoon, and Kirk remains in custody, according to the court. The court expects the plea hearing will be sometime prior to July 29, the date that Kirk’s trial was scheduled to start.

Kirk was arrested in March 2013 and charged with 19 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 on Nov. 12, 2013, 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.

He admitted to sharing sexually explicit imagery with seven victims and touching one victim intimately, but more sexual contact was alleged in the indictment. Two victims alleged actual sexual conduct, according to earlier reports by Assistant Mercer County Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler.

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 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 West Virginia State Police. Police said 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 in the earlier report.

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.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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