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A former PikeView High School employee hung his head and frequently tried to hide his face Monday as he was arraigned on multiple sexually related charges involving students.
Jonathan Kirk, 34, of Walton, a community in Roane County, was brought before Magistrate Susan C. Honaker for an arraignment hearing in Bluefield. Kirk faces 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, said Sgt. M.D. Clemons with the Crimes Against Children Unit of the West Virginia State Police.
Kirk was a former physical education teacher and coach at the school, who worked with the baseball and football teams. All the alleged victims were female students between the ages of 16 and 18 years old, Clemons said.
Clemons said the majority of the charges stem from events that occurred on the school grounds.
“He was initially charged with seven victims today. There have been 11 or 12 potential victims interviewed,” Clemons said. “When the grand jury convenes in June, there will probably be additional charges. He was arrested on 18 felonies today.”
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. There was to be a hearing before the board of education to see if that suspension would be upheld, but he resigned.
Kirk’s cell phone was seized when a search warrant was executed in February.
Kirk turned himself in Monday at the Princeton detachment of the West Virginia State Police, Clemons said.
During the arraignment, Honaker asked Kirk if he had any income. “Personally, myself, zero,” he replied.
Honaker set a $100,000 cash bond. Kirk was later taken to the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver. If freed on bond, he cannot leave West Virginia without permission from the court, and he cannot have any direct or indirect contact with any of the alleged victims.
Kirk is facing years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. Use of obscene matters with intent to seduce a minor carries up to five years and a fine of up to $25,000. Kirk is facing three counts of this charge.
Use of a minor in filming sexually explicit conduct carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 fine. Honaker told Kirk he was facing three counts of this charge.
The charges also include three counts of distribution and display to a minor of obscene matter. Each carries up to five years and a $25,000 fine. Four counts of sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or custodian each carries up to 10 to 20 years in prison and a $500 to $5,000 fine.
Soliciting a minor by a computer has a penalty of two to 10 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Kirk is facing five of those charges, Honaker said.
The investigation is continuing. Clemons asked anyone who has been approached by Kirk in a similar matter to come forward.
Kirk ended a term as PikeView’s assistant baseball coach in July 2012.