CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Embattled Kanawha County prosecuting attorney Mark Plants said he would consider resigning if a messy domestic spat hinders the ability of his office to handle cases.

“If ever I agree that it’s in the best interests of the office for me to resign, I’ll resign tomorrow,” said Plants, who was elected in 2009. “Being a prosecutor is not a career job. I love it. I love to be a prosecutor. I love to be in the courtroom but, you know, Mark Plants will go on after this. There will be another prosecutor after me.”

For now, Plants, 37, said he is going nowhere.

A guest on Tuesday’s edition of MetroNews “Talkline,” Plants discussed the domestic battery charge he is facing for allegedly striking one of his sons, 11, with a belt more than 10 times. There’s a separate charge that he violated the domestic protective order granted to his ex-wife Allison.

The state Office of Disciplinary Counsel has recommended that Plants either be immediately suspended or disqualified— along with everyone else who works in his office—from domestic violence cases involving kids.

Those with the group that oversees the conduct of lawyers argued Plants has a conflict since his attorney, in defending Plants, has said he was “acting within a constitutionally protected right to control his child” when the beating or discipline happened.

“Such representation may be materially limited by his own defense that such alleged criminal conduct is not a violation of the law,” the Office of Disciplinary Counsel said in a filing late last week.

Plants argued such action is legal when it’s “reasonable,” but said he’s waiting on a ruling from the state Supreme Court on the recommendations. “They have complete authority over this and that’s the proper venue for these arguments to be made and there’s a process to be followed,” he said. “I’ll abide and respect any decision that they have.”

During the Tuesday interview with Hoppy Kercheval that lasted nearly 20 minutes, Plants defended his work as a prosecutor and his actions as a father, turning tearful while discussing the positive influence of his own father.

“At the end of the day, I’m being attacked and crimes are being alleged against me and I’m being asked to resign or be suspended and this all boils down to I applied a form of discipline, using a belt, that my ex-wife and I both do, even after the divorce,” said Plants.

When questioned directly about his relationship with his former secretary and new wife, Sarah Foster, Plants maintained it did not affect the operations of the Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. She is no longer an employee.

“As long as I let someone else set her salary, she could still work in my office right now under the law. I felt like that was inappropriate, that that was not in the best interests of the office, so we made a mutual decision for her to leave,” Plants said.

“Once we determined that there was going to be a relationship, she left immediately.”

The two were married last December. In addition to children from their previous marriages, the couple has one child together.

bubble graphic


bubble graphic


  • voterS

    I'm watching what all these elected jokers are doing with this mess & so far I'm far from impressed!! Why is there no mention of the cover up of 'her' citations by the prosecutor &
    magistrates office? I find this to be a BIG issue and y'all insult my intelligence to not even question him on THAT. I'm not voting for any of these clowns currently in office if Plants isn't REMOVED!

  • Joe Public

    Just listened to Plants on Talkline. Hoppy was a pro. Plants was a living contradiction. He responded to questions concerning the allegations of favoritism, fathering a child with a subordinate, unjust pay raises, child abuse and gutting the credibility and effectiveness of his office with tortured, narcissistic, "reasoning." He actually articulated that the State's prohibition on favoritism/pay raises, etc. did not apply to adulterating couples, only married couples. He cannot truly believe that it would be improper to inflate your spouse's salary, but perfectly permissible to do the same thing to a non-spouse with whom you are having a relationship and with whom you secretly fathered a child.

    He also stated that the "office is bigger than the man" (we agree on that) but that he would resign only if "he" determined that it was in the best interest of the office. He did not admit that his current legal, professional and personal troubles are detrimental to the office of the PA. He did tell Hoppy that he was the victim in this situation and was the subject of vicious attacks.

    Pretty straightforward narcissistic personality disorder. Inflated sense of own importance; need for admiration; deflection of responsibility; socially distressing and inappropriate behavior; arrogance; inability to empathize.

    I originally thought that his handling of this situation (actually, these situation(s)) was clumsy, bumbling and/or sophomoric. I am now starting to believe that it is a function of an underlying narcissm-rooted disorder. This scary realization further strenghens my belief that he is wholly unfit to continue to serve as Kanawha County's prosecuting attorney. His latest decision (underpinned by his inflated sense of importance, need for admiration and hardwired inability to accept responsibility) will do nothing more than cause additional pain for his family (inability to empathize), further disrupt the functioning of his office, and erod the protection that must be afforded to the most vulnerable victims in our County (inability to empathize and socially distressing/inappropriate behavior). His decision not to voluntarily resign (compounded by his decision to go on a news talk show and attempt to rationalize a situation that cannot be defended) are yet two more hellaciously glaring examples of fatally poor judgment.

    After listening to the interview, I compared the dates of employment of his now wife (then subordinate paramour) and learned that he unequivocally lied about the favoritism/unfair raise scandal. He stated that as soon as he and his then secretary "decided to have a relationship," she resigned and "left immediately." But, of course, reproductive physiology and math demonstrate that this was a lie. His subordinate remained his subordinate (and received raises, trips to the Greenbrier during the prosecutor's continuing education meetings), etc. for at least 16 months after they began an extra-marital sexual relationship.

    Surely his decision to go on Talkline -- and most certainly his decision to lie in response to Hoppy's questioning -- had to be in contravention of his lawyer's counseling. And further proof that he is unfit to continue to serve as Prosecutor.

    It is not viable to allow him to remain in office and simply vote him out. He needs to be removed now. Mayor Jones and the ODC undoubtedly will mine the interview for further information to support their petitions. Citizens should hope that the correct result is achieved.

    • Jim G.

      Amen! A well reasoned analysis of the entire shameful situation. At the minimum the man needs to remove himself from office until these matters are adjudicated.

  • WW Glasser

    Turns out Plants is actually a businessman.

    He is the local distributor of crapola.

  • thornton

    I would suggest that Mr. Plants consider a fedora with a small feather in the band.

    Slightly more seriously tho, either hiring an image consultant or just being quiet might serve him better. The gab is not elevating his position.

  • Big Jim Slade

    As a former Tight End for the Kansas City Chiefs, and surveyor for Lincoln, Nebraska, I can attest to understanding the pressures of a former football player now in the position of a high level government office. I'm sure Mr. Plants domestic differences are overly spotlighted because of his gridiron glory just as much as as prosecutorial carrer. Godspeed Mark Plants -- stay strong brother.

    • Aaron

      How sir does this relate to his 2 minutes of fame 2 decades ago?

    • Not a fan

      Big Tight End,
      Mark Plants has played a lot of positions, but that of "tight end" is not what landed him where he finds himself today. He probably wishes for "the pressures of a former football player". Assuming your comment was meant to be funny; it caused me to chuckle. Gridiron glory, indeed!

    • thornton

      Thanks, with this latest snow and cold, I needed a hearty chuckle.

    • Coach


      You sound like a good friend he may listen to. You may suggest he swear off talk show appearances.


      • Outraged

        There is no chance Mark will listen to anyone. He pays his own attorney- and doesn't listen to him. Why would he listen to someone just because they played football. I think it's safe to guess that Mark is going to just keep talking.

  • The Answer

    Lies or not, the people of Kanawha Co. have a sure fired way of rIdding it's self of this problem.
    I' m sure everyone has heard of the ballot box...

  • More Lies

    Said he felt that her working for him was inappropriate and that when they determined that they would have a relationship, she "left immediately." This was and is a material matter in the ethics investigations into favoritism in wages, etc. But we know -- given the age of the baby and the time of her resignation -- that they were sleeping together for at least 16 months while she was working for him and he was giving her raises. He lied. About a significant matter. In a public forum. The attemped cover-up is nearly as bad as the misconduct. He must resign or be removed. This is outrageous.

    • TalkLIES

      But, didn't he make it sound so very nice...? Like, he and Sarah went to lunch one day, he asked her to "go steady" and she agreed. Another bite of the baloney "sammy" and some further discussion, they determined to keep everything on the "up and up" and "clean"... "Sarah, you quit your job and I will hire your brother to keep an eye on me, and I will pay him well". Yep, Mark Plants has his priorities in order: Mark Plants.

  • TalkLIES

    I am hopeful that the ODC and the WV Supreme Court can listen to this "interview" and see for themselves what kind of man Mark Plants is. He has lied from the beginning of the investigation with regards to the running of his office, the fairness, the "equal pay raises", etc. and of course, this latest big lie today during the discussion with Hoppy..."Once we determined we were going to pursue a relationship, she left her job immediately" (no longer employed in my office). HA! We don't even need an OB/GYN to determine that was a lie! Also, someone needs to dig a little deeper into the hiring of Nathan Nelson and whether he replaced Sarah, as reported, or Matt Harvey (as reported in the Commissioner's Meeting minutes) More stink?

  • Confused

    If she resigned when they deteremined there would be a relationship, the time line doesn't add up with the age of their child. Spanking your child is one thing, but leaving a BRUISE is abuse!

  • WW Glasser

    Corporal punishment is not Plants's problem.

    Judgement and truth telling are.

  • Joe Public

    Just did the math. He flat out and unequivocally LIED on talk line. He said that once they decided to have a relationship, she "resigned immediately." The baby he fathered out of wedlock was born in November, 2012. She did not resign until July, 2013. Assuming that she does not have a gestation period of a tsetse fly, they had sex (at the very latest) in March, 2012. She did not leave immediately, she stayed at least 16 months until Plants replaced her with her brother. This is not a "shading of the truth" or "spin," it is a lie. This is getting worse by the day. Get him out.

    • TalkLIES

      He wasted no time at all having the comments on topix deleted today. Has he hired a new person just to do "damage control" for him?People were burning him alive, and he so deserved it, after this comedic performance with Hoppy. I know a couple of people who, when their lips are moving, you know they are lying. Mark Plants is now a member of that club!

      • Outraged

        Mark and Sarah are at the beach as all of this is going on. They have plenty of time to monitor Topix while on their vacation.

  • Rich

    Lawyers are supposed to avoid the appearance of impropriety. The judicious thing to do is not risk valid complaints and convictions for domestic violence crimes while his charges are pending. Why risk it for those victims? For their own good, he should voluntarily recuse his office from those cases until his matters are resolved.

  • WVMed

    First of all, Plants child with Sarah Foster was allegedly born November 2013 according to news reports, 11 months before Sarah Foster was divorced from her Charleston City Police Detective husband and 9 months before she resigned from employment with Plants. Obviously, there was a "relationship" long before they quit working together. Futhermore, the allegations against Mr. Plants are not just about the form of discipline he used against his kid - and I'll admit that there may be a difference of opinion between the lawfulness of spanking versus hitting with a belt. However, there is also the clear violation of a domestic violence protective order (the prosecutor's office is charged with enforcing violations of DVPs so how can he enforce orders that he ignores himself) as well as a loss of faith in the office by law enforcement and community leaders (see today's interviews of Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster, Mayor Jones and Commissioner Carper) and ethics complaints filed against his office as a result of the raises and dismissed traffic tickets invovling Ms. Foster. He is a black eye on Kanawha County and the faster he goes away the better. If he ultimately wins in his criminal cases, then so be it. Good for him. But he cannot effectively prosecute anyone for violating DVPs or abusing children when he's being accused of violating the law himself. And for what its worth, Mr. Plants now says that he wants to be treated as innocent until proven guilty - which is a courtesy he did not give an assistant proseuctor he fired for being charged with DUI in 2011 before the charges were proven. Moreover, he is in the newspaper routinely talking about the "guilt" of person his office is proseucting before a plea or a jury verdict. I guess now that he's on the other side of the "v" he wants treated differently... Lawyers.

    • Outraged

      Wrong.. baby was born November 2012. The baby is almost 2 now!

    • Aaron

      "...Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster, Mayor Jones and Commissioner Carper..."

      While I do not know the Police Chief, I've heard enough from the other two to know they should be placed under EPA monitoring for exfoliating dangerous emissions.

      • Removal of what?

        "for exfoliating dangerous emissions"? Could you "splain" that to me? Thanks.

      • Mister H

        Truth be known, Charleston Police and Danny Jones, particularly the latter, have something personal against Plants--- Charleston isn't the only city in the County-- Do any other municipalities share the same "concern" as Danny Jones?

  • Aaron

    In embarking on this public crusade to exonerate his actions and validate his not stepping aside, Mr. Plants is displaying a tremendous amount of professional ineptitude. This is not about whether he is guilty or innocent of any crimes or whether he exceeded parental authority with is children; this is about the office of which he was elected.

    That integrity of that office is above any of the personal issues of this case and as such, demands a higher level of integrity. It is not about his innocence or whether his ex-wife is being vindictive but the appearance of impropriety that is currently looming over the office.

    I very seldom agree with Danny Jones as I believe he is a self efficacy blowhard who likes the sound of his voice a little too much for my taste but on this issue, I agree that the accusations surrounding Mr. Plants creates a problem for LEO’s. As such, I believe the prosecutor should take an indefinite leave of absence so that there can be no confusion regarding the office.

    • Silas Lynch

      " I don't know her but she's not being vindictive, She could have buried Mark along time ago": "Mark needs to leave the belt buckle out of it": Those are just a couple of remarks Danny Jones made on Hoppy's show yesterday--- A pathetic, little man Danny Jones is.

      • Aaron

        I do not disagree regarding Jones. I heard the comments as well and were I Mr. Plants, I would pursue slander charges against the Mayor for his comments on the radio yesterday.

        None of that detracts from his comments regarding LEO and the strain they place when investigating even remotely similar crimes. I would assume that Mr. Plants is a fairly intelligent individual and as such, he should have the wherewithal to understand the burden his personal life is placing on his political office and step aside.

        Anything less is arrogance and should he refuse to voluntarily step aside until this matter is resolved at which time he can resume his duties should result in him being removed from the office.

        I'm not as concerned with the accusations of the case or what has transpired as a result of the case as I am with his inability to comprehend how his actions are affecting the office and his refusal to do what is right.

        • The bookman

          I agree, and it needs to happen soon or his forced removal would be justified.

  • vashti

    he should resign. it is not about Mr. Plants and his ongoing feud with his wife. it is not about disciplinary practises he and his wife supposedly agreed to. it is just not about him. it is about being able to effectively prosecute cases without the appearance of impropriety.