By: Ralph B. Davisrdavis@civitasmedia.com
January 14, 2013
“The pretrial disposition agreement in the case of the State of WV vs. James Hiram Keatley II fulfilled our objective to prevent further student exposure to unprofessional misconduct. Moreover, the emotionally fragile female students are now protected from the stressful ordeal of a trial,” stated Mingo County Prosecuting Attorney C. Michael Sparks, while speaking with the Daily News about a plea agreement filed in the Circuit Clerk’s office and signed into order on Thursday of last week, regarding an indictment of sexual abuse by a teacher.
Keatley, represented by Attorney Jane Moran, agreed to dismiss the grievance he had filed that was currently pending against Mingo County Schools and the WV Department of Education (DOE) as part of his plea. He was ordered to tender a permanent resignation with the school system and also agreed to surrender his teaching certification with the WV DOE.
The former teacher’s plea agreement further stated that he shall be prohibited from being on the real property comprising any public or private elementary, vocational or secondary school except for teacher/parent conferences and extracurricular activities (excluding dances and proms) in which a family member of the defendant is participating; the defendant shall be permanently prohibited from communicating directly or indirectly with the victims, nor shall he have any contact with them; Keatley is permanently prohibited from engaging in conduct whatsoever that harasses, intimidates or otherwise places the victims in reasonable fear of bodily or psychological injury; that the indictment against the defendant will be dismissed with prejudice and that any violation of the foregoing terms by any relevant party may result in unilateral revocation of the pretrial disposition agreement and prosecution of the charges in Indictment A12-M4 or upgraded charges.
Keatley, a teacher who also served as a football and basketball coach at the Matewan Middle School, had been indicted after allegation were made that between September and November of 2011, he did unlawfully, knowingly, intentionally, but not feloniously, subject two female juveniles to sexual contact of an insulting and provocative nature, which constituted charges of 3 counts of 3rd degree sexual abuse and 1 count of battery. The defendant was suspended from his teaching position by the Board of Education pending the outcome of his case, and has now been ordered to permanently resign.
“West Virginia State Police Trooper L.D. Hensley’s investigation into the allegations against Keatley also uncovered several instances of sexually based comments and innuendos,” added Sparks.
Keatley’s agreement was entered the same day as the plea from former special needs teacher, Tina Grace, an instructor at Riverside Elementary, who was charged with battery of children with disabilities.