Pocahontas County Prosecuting Attorney Confirms Investigation Of Former Sheriffs Dept Deputy
Marlinton, WV – Rumors and questions have been swirling for months about allegations of inappropriate behavior on the part of former Pocahontas County Sheriff’s deputy Lt. B. C. Totten. On March 9th, Pocahontas County Prosecuting Attorney Donna Meadows Price released a statement saying the investigation is now at a point that she can release some information without jeopardizing the integrity of the investigation.
She says early in her term as county Prosecuting Attorney, she received information from a confidential witness concerning alleged inappropriate behavior on the part of Lt. Totten. At that time, she says she didn’t have sufficient information to pursue the case. However, after two additional witnesses providing substantially the same testimony came forward, she initiated a full investigation into the allegations. The testimony indicated that the inappropriate behavior had been going on for many years. When asked about the nature of the possible crimes, Price had this response.
“At this time, the specificity of the conduct, is not being disclosed the same as the names of the victims,” says Price. “The nature of the conduct is such that I would categorize it as one of the most egregious types there is. Most people hear the word “Murder” and think that those crimes are the most horrific, [but] there are crimes that leave live victims to have to deal, cope and learn to live with having been victimized in the most private of ways and the most precious of victims. I will be able to provide more information as the case progresses.”
In early August of 2011, Price requested a formal inquiry by the West Virginia State Police. According to the press release, a request sent to Col. C.R. “Jay” Smithers, a Superintendent of the West Virginia State Police, asked for the appointment of a Trooper from outside of Pocahontas County to conduct the investigation.
Later that month, Price contacted William J. Ihlenfeld, US Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia regarding this investigation, and the possibility of federal implications the investigation might reveal. When contacted on March 12th, Ihlenfeld’s office said they have nothing to release on the matter at this time.
1st Lt. R.J.Simon, with the West Virginia State Police was assigned to investigate the allegations and whether or not Lt. Totten had engaged in activities that were criminal. 1st Lt. Simon also sought the assistance of the FBI; a special agent was subsequently assigned and is actively involved in the investigation, according to the release.
Price also sought the advice of the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorney’s Institute on whether to request the services of a special prosecutor. Based on their advice, she recused herself and a special prosecutor has been assigned in order to eliminate any appearance of bias or impropriety.
She says protection of the victims privacy and the ongoing investigation are a priority for her as well as the investigating officers. Fayette County Prosecuting Attorney Carl Harris has been appointed as Special Prosecutor in the case.