ELKINS, W.Va. — The state Judicial Investigation Commission is looking into the conduct of a Randolph County circuit judge after she self-reported a relationship she’s had with a county employee.
State Supreme Court Administrator Steve Canterbury confirmed Thursday the JIC is exploring the relationship between Circuit Judge Jaymie Wilfong and North Central Community Corrections Director Travis Carter.
Canterbury said Judge Wilfong self-reported the personal connection. Three other complaints have also been filed. Carter is currently on suspended leave with pay from the Randolph County Commission.
Canterbury said Wilfong is a well-respected judge and he’s heard nothing of any wrongdoing from the bench but the JIC will check it out.
“I suspect what is of the most interest will be whether or not she comported herself in some unethical manner from the bench or her position,” Canterbury said. “The question is because of his (Carter’s) occupation, his profession, was she somehow acting unethically by having a relationship with him?”
Judge Wilfong said in a prepared statement to the Inter-Mountain newspaper in Elkins that she self-reported the relationship “in an abundance of caution to avoid an appearance of impropriety. It is unfortunate when private matters become topics for public speculation, but I understand I am a public figure in this county.”
She added she’s sorry she has disappointed so many people. Wilfong and Carter are both married.
Canterbury told MetroNews the investigation commission may very well find nothing has happened from the bench and it’s a personal matter between Judge Wilfong and Carter.
Canterbury said there is one thing this isn’t.
“I think that anyone who would compare this to Mingo County is stretching for bad news. This is as different from day and night from what went on in Mingo County,” Canterbury said.
Former Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury was named in a federal information earlier this year. He allegedly pressured a former secretary to continue a relationship with him but when she refused, Thornsbury allegedly set up several schemes to have her husband arrested and indicted.