Ronald Kell

Ronald Kell

BLUEFIELD — A local man is facing a felony charge of sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or custodian after a female juvenile stated in a Child Protect forensic interview that he exposed himself to her, let her see pornographic images on his computer and had her model in a bathing suit.

Ronald Kell, 71, of Bluefield is facing a felony charge of sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or custodian and a misdemeanor charge of third-degree sexual abuse, according to records at the Mercer County Magistrate Clerk’s Office. Magistrate Susan Honaker arraigned Kell on Monday after he was arrested and set a $8,000 property or surety bond on the felony charge and a $2,000 property or surety bond on the misdemeanor charge.

The case began in May 2019 after the Bluefield Police Department received a referral concerning the alleged sexual abuse of a female juvenile, according to a report filed by Detective Sgt. K.L. Adams. 

Adams attended a forensic interview conducted by Child Protect in June 2019. In the interview, the juvenile said one of her relatives had been dating Kell, and that she had been sent to stay at his home in October 2018. The juvenile said that while she was there, Kell exposed himself to her and performed sex acts in her presence. She also stated that he groped her and had her send nude pictures of herself. During the interview, the juvenile said that Kell had “pornographic videos on his computer displaying girls of all ages with some appearing to be younger than her,” Adams said in the report.

On June 5, 2019, Adams and other officers of the Bluefield Police Department conducted a search warrant at Kell’s residence. A preliminary review of electronic devices found there “produced numerous photos.” Adams said he observed photos of the victim modeling a bathing suit, and that he observed “numerous pictures” of Kell’s privates on the devices.

After the search, Kell was transported to the police department to be questioned, Adams said. Kell voluntarily gave a statement and denied ever sexually abusing the victim.

“Kell admitted he had touched the breasts of the victim, but advised it was accidental,” Adams said.

There was no record Tuesday of Kell at the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver. 

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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