Kanawha County Sexual Abuse Case Dismissed

As reported in the Charleston Daily Mail this morning, Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Irene Berger dismissed a case against a former Chesapeake youth pastor accused of sexually abusing a 16 year old girl.

The article reports that the defendant, Timothy C. Edmonds, was scheduled to go to trial this Monday.  But Judge Berger ruled that the state had taken too long to bring an indictment against Edmonds, and dismissed the case.  Assistant Prosecutor Michelle Drummond said the state would present charges again to a grand jury to get a superseding indictment.

In West Virginia, criminal cases can be dismissed due to pre-indictment delay, however, they are only dismissed “without prejudice,” which means that the case can go back before a grand jury.  But, after an indictment is returned by a grand jury, the case must go to trial within one year of the indictment (i.e., the “three term rule”), or even within the first few months (i.e., in the same term of court) if the defendant invokes his or her right to a “speedy trial” (i.e., “the one term rule”).  Dismissal on these grounds is more like a criminal statute of limitations, and is “with prejudice” and therefore permanent.

It seems most likely here that the dismissal was due to pre-indictment delay, though there must have been an indictment returned some time ago since the trial date was this-coming Monday.  Apparently the guy was first arrested and charged via “Criminal Complaint” over 2 years ago.  And what was happening in the meantime?  There were civil cases filed, litigated and settled, involving a “large sum of money,” according to defense attorney John Sullivan.  

If this guy is “guilty as sin” as the victim’s mother is vocally announcing to the newspapers, and if the state has overwhelming evidence against him, as they are suggesting they have, then why wait 2 years to bring him to trial?  Is it proper for the Prosecuting Attorney to file criminal charges, then delay the case for the victim’s civil lawsuits, before finally bringing a criminal trial on the charges?  I don’t think so, and apparently Judge Berger didn’t either.  If your going to prosecute someone, then prosecute them.  The prosecutor should not be coordinating the criminal case with the victim’s civil lawsuits.

 – John H. Bryan, West Virginia Attorney

4 thoughts on “Kanawha County Sexual Abuse Case Dismissed

  1. right,”Larry” it has nothing to do with the fact the family has made accusations on at least 2 other guys since this poor schmoe one less than 6 months after him btw did some research, wasnt “your” accident on the 2nd anniversary of the day you arrested this guy? so that wasnt the issue seems like Somebody up there is trying to tell you something

  2. The man was wrongly accused and a good family man.
    Why doesn’t the state put charges on the parents for not having her watched if she was mentally retarded.Quit
    tax payers money on false cases.

  3. Now this man had a trial, which many of us thought to be one of the worst cases ever for the defendant. The trooper lost the pictures, the trooper lost the note, the trooper misplaced the ? camera. He lied to the grand jury to get the last Indictment. The mother on civil testimony said she took a drawer full of panty hose to the trooper, the mother testified on the stand at trial, that she took two pairs of panty hose, the officer said in his first statement to the newspaper that the hose were found in the house. His first written report (which was misfiled) said the girl said she threw them away.) The defendants wife, said at the very first, she felt they may have been panty hose that were from the house. Oh and by the way, Tim’s DNA was taken after the case had been dismissed. No one had asked for DNA up to that point. Wasn’t it just to get the civil suit settled. So many things that were not right. I have lost all faith in the criminal justice system in this County.

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