Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

January 17, 2014

Judge rejects plea deal for former PikeView teacher facing sexual-abuse charges

By Greg Jordan
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — A Mercer County judge rejected a proposed plea agreement Friday for a former PikeView High School teacher charged with multiple sexual-abuse related charges involving students.

Circuit Court Judge William Sadler rejected the proposed plea deal for Jonathan Kirk, 35, a former physical education teacher and coach at the school. Sadler then set trial in the case for April 15.

Sadler said the plea agreement didn’t take into account Kirk’s role as a teacher.

Under the proposed plea agreement, Kirk would have faced only 20 years in prison with the possibility of being released within 10 years, said Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler. Kirk now faces 19 charges, and when asked how many years Kirk could face   now if convicted at trial, Sitler replied, around “a century.”

Kirk was arrested in March 2013 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 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.

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.