CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Kanawha County prosecutor Mark Plants said he’s cooperating with State Police who are investigating a child abuse allegation made by his ex-wife.

In a brief news conference Thursday in which he took no questions, Plants said during his marriage to Allison Plants they had both agreed that on occasion spanking was an appropriate form of discipline for their children.

Jeff Jenkins/MetroNews

Kanawha County’s elected prosecutor choked back tears Thursday afternoon as he talked about his children and the allegation made by his ex-wife.

“This was not an issue until I recently got remarried and she recently hired Mike Clifford, and this is a page right out of Mike Clifford’s playbook,” Plants said.

Clifford is a defense attorney who used to be the prosecutor of Kanawha County.

Plants choked back tears as he spoke about his two sons.

“As a father I am absolutely disgusted that my children are being involved in political mudslinging and politically motivated allegations,” Plants said. “I am the elected prosecutor but my No. 1, most important job is to be a father and to raise respectable, law-abiding children.”

Earlier in the day, state police confirmed the agency is investigating a complaint from Allison Plants, who alleged her ex-husband had abused one of his children by disciplining him “in an excessive manner.”

Sgt. M.S. Adams with the West Virginia state police Crimes Against Children Unit in Wheeling was handling the investigation.

“I’ve cooperated with investigators, I’ve spoke with the lead investigator. I’ve done everything law enforcement has asked me to do,” Plants said.

Allison Plants was granted an emergency Domestic Violence Protective Order Thursday afternoon.

Plants has been the Kanawha County’s prosecutor since January 2009. He and Allison Plants divorced in 2012.

Last December he married Sarah Foster, who formerly worked as a secretary for Plants until July 2013. During her four years with the Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, records showed she received $15,000 in raises that sparked questions of favoritism. Plants has said the raises were in line with what other secretaries were paid.

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  • Ed

    There is a question about parents spanking their children. Discipline in school should call for parents to spank their students at school for certain disrespect displayed toward school personnel and property. Should the parent refuse automatic suspension would be imposed.


      That is one of the best ideas I have heard of in a very long time!

    • Leo

      I like that idea!

  • Charles

    I'm more concerned with his obvious favoritism and nepotism to his wife and her brother. Let's investigate that. I bet they can actually find something to be concerned about.

  • Beckie

    Wow. To Martinsburg Resident: ?I am ruining this great nation?
    To ThatGuyOverthere: ?"kids need their hind ends lit up" . And honestly, thank you for your service to our country. My only son served this country as a young lieutenent and honors graduate from the United States Military Academy (West Point) until he was hit with an IED in Iraq on 11 January 2005. He like you has 3 college degrees. We can agree that there are different forms of discipline. He was never spanked. I was never spanked.
    To Richard: Don't pity me or my son.

    • martinsburg resident

      Yes... your pathetic ideology... but now you say "we can agree there are different forms of discipline"??? From spanking a kids bare bottom is borderline or can be considered sexual abuse? WTH? It is those kind of statements that shows your ignorance. Don't spank your kids~ I nor anyone else cares... just keep your IDEOLOGY to yourself. You people love telling everyone else how to live and raise their kids!

      • Harpers Ferry

        Hello Pot, my name is Kettle, and you are black!

        • Martinsburg Resident

          It's called Common Sense versus Ideology... unfortunately the lack of the first only promotes the latter. Contrary to what some believe many people want to raise thier children without being called "child molesters" by people like Beckie & her kind... but isn't that the "Left's" playbook??? Losing a debate? ~ just make up a lie, repeat it over & over, & before too long the sheeople begin to believe it. Sincerely, Saul Alinsky

  • Charley Manson

    While I was growing up I NEVER EVER got a spankin!! And look how I turned out-- had big ole family in California and now have a nice retirement plan in the California Penal System-- Life was and is good....

  • David

    Both Plants and Clifford should have never been voted into office.

    Both are of questionable character.

    Although I don't believe for a minute he abused his children.

    Clifford is trash..

    • Oh Did Ya?

      How is Plants' character questionable?

  • martinsburg resident

    To the people who say spanking is never appropriate! That is your progressive liberal ideology speaking and I say you are not appropriate and you are what's ruining this great Nation! Children need to be LOVED & a big part of that is discipline! I was spanked & deserved more than I ever got... love my patents & I treat everyone respectfully. I've never been in jail, I have always held a steady job, I love my wife and kids... spanking is not the "Monster" you all paint it to be! Let me guess "Global Warming" is a fact too? Too many fools in this world....

  • ThatGuyOverThere

    I stand behind the prosecutor Mark Plants, I find it odd that his wife didn't report the "abuse" sooner, i find it odd that she is being represented by the former Kanawha County prosecutor... And furthermore sometimes kids need their hind ends lit up...if they feared consequences a little more, i'd say we would have less problems out of them.

  • Beckie

    Spanking is not respectful of the child. Spanking can be humiliating and harm the child emotionally and mental. It teaches children that violence is acceptable and may increase violent tendencies, aggressions, and misbehaviors in children. Use of spanking can be contradictory and confusing for a child - a spanking as a punishment for a child who was hitting, for example. Arguments that spanking is a form of child abuse. Spanking can cause severe rifts in the parent-child relationship and cause long-term emotional effects in the child. Spanking on bare buttocks borders on or can be considered sexual abuse. Spanking children does not teach an alternative method of behavior to prevent the wrongdoing from occurring again - in other words, it doesn't keep the child from making the same mistake twice

    • Jeff R

      beckie, you need your ass spanked

    • Daniel

      You are one delusional individual! Are you that far out there that you believe a good spanking for egregious acts of disrespect to children's elders (parents/others) is borderline sexual abuse? Wow! I've heard it all now! I got my ass lit up every time I embarrassed my parents for doing something stupid and I learnt very quickly to cut that out! You're part of the problem now with society. Poor things need more love, more leniency, more, more, more. Never less! Parents like you are part of the problem with children today, not the solution! Wow!

    • Hillbilly

      I will respectfully disagree with you. A punishment, in order to be effective, has to be something that the offender does NOT like or want. Spanking is definitely in that category, along with other things. As long as its not way overdone, I think its fine. One main thing is that there HAS to be some undesirable consequence EVERY time there is misbehavior because if not kids could care less what they do.

    • Lisa

      I was spanked as a child. Not often. When my parents warned me to quit doing something, I knew a spanking was next if I didn't listen. Guess what? I love and respect my parents, I am not emotionally scarred, I am not confused about what is right and what is wrong, I understand that violence is not the answer....And, I remember the day that I thanked my mom for being tough on me. I had started working retail and I saw all the parents that wouldn't make their children mind...out in public counting to 3 and then 10 and 15 and threatening time out while their brats tore up the store and listened to nothing their parents about humiliating...for the parents, I would think...

    • richard

      Beckie, you just keep right on spewing that stupid crap, and then maybe one day you will wake up and wonder why kids are such brats. You can't love a child into being a good upstanding, law abiding, wonderful person. Anyone who says otherwise is either a liar or a fool. Why do you think there is no discipline in schools anymore? Why do you think teachers can't control a classroom. Its because the kids don't respect anyone. And they fear no one because they know that nothing can be done to them to make them respect anyone.

    • northforkfisher

      You don't spank on bare skin. Look back to the generations that were spanked you see well respected, we'll manner, and helpful to each other. The alternative method you speak of dose not work, all they learn is to carry on to get out of something they don't like. That's why the kids today have no respect and their hands out for the next handout, instead of working for it.

    • Jason412

      Saying that spanking a child bare bottom borders on or is considered sexual abuse is ridiculous.

      I have a feeling when my grandma used to spank me and all my cousins she didn't have a sexual thought in her mind.

    • martinsburg resident

      Please enlighten us on what form of discipline works?

    • richard

      LOL, Beckie. i pity people who think like you and i pity the children who aren't corrected in this manner (when needed).

    • ThatGuyOverThere

      Got my hind end busted all the time when I was a kid, in public, at church, at home, heck even at school....20 some years later, successful military career, 3 college degrees, I think my parents did okay spanking poor little me as they did.

      • martinsburg resident

        Amen! Thank you for your service.

  • Mr Bullsnip

    Spare the rod spoil the child. And that does not mean child abuse. There is a hugh difference in spanking a child and beating a child.

  • GobblyGook

    When I first heard about this it raised an eyebrow for a second. Then when I heard that Mike Clifford was involved in this I take it with a large grain of salt. With Clifford involved it's a political hit piece. Nothing more need be said. Plants does have integrity. Clifford is allergic to integrity.

  • J

    When did spanking become wrong? That is the problem with kids today, they don't get spanked! Bring it back to schools, allow it in church, and most importantly allow it at home! America has become a nation full of sissies, and that is what's wrong with this country!

    • jfk

      amen and to add many kids live their life with NO consequence's whether it be a good spanking or taking away privileges.

  • jcsaunders

    How is this political are not even up for election!?!

    • Smh

      He is running for a new office.

  • Beckie

    "An occasional spanking" is NEVER appropriate. I cannot imagine that a man that size would ever strike a child.

    • richard

      Beckie, that is exactly why your children are probably in jail or soon will be.

    • mike

      Beckie. Maybe that is what is wrong with you. You must have been a little spoiled brat. You left wingers are why this country is going to the dogs. Sorry dogs just a saying. Todays kids at least 75% of the ones I see in public need a little whack on the bottom. They for the most part a rude little punks. They must take after Mom and Dad. To many kids are out of control.

      • richard

        amen mike. i just understand some peoples thinking. good luck to beckie if she has children or has them.....if not now-then in the future when they are older.

    • GobblyGook

      Yes it is. Just ask my wife. She likes one every Saturday night. Never say never, darlin'.

    • jfk

      spanking" is NEVER appropriate is your opinion not fact!

    • steve

      Spoken like a true liberal-that's what is wrong with half these kids today-no supervision

  • steve

    Jilted lover-why drag the kids into it?

  • cutty77

    Happy Wife,Happy Life. Un-Happy Wife.Un-Happy Life. Words so True.