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.

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Comments

  • Concerned

    Mark Plants think he is above the law. He admits to spanking his child 8-10 times, and leaves a bruise. He makes a point that there was only "one bruise". It blows my mind whether you support corporal punishment or not, that leaving a bruise is NOT considered abuse! He is two pending criminal charges, he needs to be removed. In fact, in May 2011, he fired one of his assistant PA for being charged with a DUI, stating that they should be held to a hire standard. The case was later dismissed, but what is the difference between that assistant and himself? Here is a link to the article:

    http://www.sundaygazettemail.com/News/policeblotter/201105081159

    Mark states that Sarah resigned when they decided to have a relationship, however their child was almost a year old when she resigned. It is LIE after LIE. When are the lies going to stop! Please stop this craziness and resign! You DO NOT deserve the position anymore!

  • Michael

    This is how Republicans act when they are in office. Complete lack of regard to rules for themselves but put the hammer down on rules for everyone else.

  • rick

    First of all this guy is a lousy prosecutor. I have read the Constitution several times and I don't see where you have a guaranteed right to beat your children with a belt. This guy is caught up in a feces storm involving his ex wife, his current wife and ex girlfriend, and involving his children now. He needs to quietly go away and let someone come in to restore confidence in the office.

    • Concerned

      He is a HORRIBLE attorney! I have seen him in the courtroom myself! He could argue his way out of a paper bag!

  • So deep

    All I can say is he is a good storyteller. First, I love how he said after his wife left him. She left you because you got another woman pregnant. He also skipped right over the fact that Sarah was still married. Her poor husband raised that child thinking it was his for almost a year. What kind of lying pair are they to do that to someone!!???!!!
    Second, he asked to have the clause of leaving the state lifted for CLE classes. All so he could go to the beach this week.
    He wouldn't know what the truth was if it smacked him in the face. Everyone was does wrong in life MAN UP and take responibilty for all the wrong you have done. Stop trying to make your ex wife look vindictive. If she really wanted to she could of outed you forever ago on your affair.
    If he doesn't get suspend for this sure they will for all the misconduct with Sarah and illegal use of OUR (tax payers) money!!!

    Keep stuttering Mark keep stuttering

  • WV Common Tater

    Did anyone ever check the DNA of the baby to ensure it was his?

    • DNA

      Surprised he doesn't blame that on his ex and Clifford.

  • Buck

    If Plants gets fired, he can always get a job doing Mr. Clean commercials.

    • thornton

      That might turn out to be a tad ironic as a moniker.

      Besides throwing dirt on a fella that is down from his own actions and decisions...hopefully, Plants has a friend that can be a dutch uncle to him and get him past the arrogance and runaway truck attitude and move on to restoring faith in himself....for his children's sake. I suspect late at night is when he realizes his errors in judgment in taking a step certainly too far...he should carry that over to the light of day.

      This legal issue will be resolved in time...he should work toward the same in his personal life....lay the ego aside, accept the embarrassment and consider the kids.

      • Kids First

        That was a hugely DEEP comment and I think you should be commended for saying it. At the end of the day, Mark Plants needs to give the absolute most consideration to his children. He, himself, stated they are his #1 priority. What he needs to do now is prove it. Step away from the fire and the microphone! Put yourself in time-out and contemplate your past and your future...

  • Joe Public

    Just read the WSAZ story. Another lie. When discussing his admitted violation of the DVP, Plants stated, "I stood there until my ex-wife got back. That's it. That's what I did." In fact, Plants talked to his son about the belt lashing telling him that it was just a spanking like he always did. He also told the boys that they could come home with him right then if their mother would just let them. A DVP is intended to protect the victims of domestic violence from not only physical violence, but also from manipulation by the abuser. Plants violated the DVP by "standing there" but also demonstrated extremely manipulative behavior in addition to just "standing there." AND......he lied again. This is an evolving, escalating and ugly book, but the last chapter has already been disclosed: he is unfit to continue as prosecutor and must be removed.

    • Dick

      After being arrested for the DVP violation Plants said:

      "Last night, I walked out of Fruth [Pharmacy]. My kids were unattended in a vehicle. It was dark. I stood with them until my ex-wife came back out,"

      It wasn't "dark" the incident happened before 7:00 pm.

      • Bull(y) Fighter

        And he talked and tried to influence both children and his ex. He didn't just stand there.

    • Dick

      Even though the sun had not set, he also claimed it was dark. Maybe it was an eclipse ... yeah ... that's the ticket.

  • Richard

    First of all no one posting here has addressed his successful career as a prosecutor. No one here has addressed the unprovable fact that mike Clifford and the EX wife have tremendous hatred for mark. No one here wants to talk about his legal right to spank his child. It's blatantly obvious most on here want to focus on the pay raise. The child birth not adding up to the dates mark suggests. All this is vindictive hateful rhetoric. Jealousy possibly? Now, let me say this. Mark, like amost successful attorneys and business people carry some swag and arrogance. It's who they are. Most priests would not make good prosecutors. Did mark spank his child to hard? Possibly he did. Know one knows. Does he privately regret spanking his child? I'm sure. Judge not lest the be judged!! Mark made a mistake. The haters come rushing out. It's human behavior. Stand strong mark. Quit spanking your kids, learn a new discipline for them, and dig into the conspiracy that mike Clifford, Danny Jones and the Ex wife have conjured together. Good luck!!

    • Kids First

      How would we address an "unprovable fact"? If something is not provable, it may well be a lie. The 75% #'s he tossed our way in tooting his own horn need to be substantiated by another, more reliable and unbiased source. He used the same percentage to include people who spank their children (how the hell did he conduct that survey; no one asked me) and his record of decreasing murders. He may well have the right to spank his child; he does not have the right to beat his child. No one has a right to leave markings and bruising on ANY child, especially marks which are still prominent after 4 days! We don't own our children like we might own a house or car. Does he have the right to whip his wife or co-worker with a belt? You know...to keep them in line? Case closed.

    • Aaron

      "First of all no one posting here has addressed his successful career as a prosecutor. No one here has addressed the unprovable fact that mike Clifford and the EX wife have tremendous hatred for mark. No one here wants to talk about his legal right to spank his child."

      Because none of that matters. He is in a position where the integrity of the office is tantamount to success and he is destroying that integrity but publicizing his personal life. His ex-wife and her attorney are not the ones making headlines by calling press conferences and speaking at length to reporters. Were he concerned about his office, he would take a leave of absence and simply shut his mouth.

    • thornton

      First and foremost, Plant's career, in a courtroom or past gridiron triumphs, would not be an excuse to that for which he is charged and....spanking, most of us were spanked and have spanked our children, does not automatically result in bruises in healthy children.
      Ignoring the bruise(s) is certainly convenient but just as certainly indicates "spanking too hard".

      "Mark" should stand wise rather than strong.

    • Dick

      You'll need to figure a way to weave the state trooper from Wheeling, the special prosecutor from McDowell County, the office of disciplinary counsel and the family court judge from Cabell County into your conspiracy theory. None of these people knew each other or Mark Plants until this matter occurred and all have come to the conclusion something is terribly wrong. I'll put my money on those who have posted. The man needs go. Soon you'll be able to add the Supreme Court and others to your conspiracy theory. Who knows the US attorneys office may even want to chime in.

      • So deep

        Exactly....the people put into place to look over this matter re being for than careful. They aren't going to bring charges against someone like
        Mark without making sure it will stick. The only reason anyone is questioning all this is because he state his ex wife was ok with this until he remarried. Who in there right mind would be ok with spanking your child who had jeans on with a belt and leaving a bruise. It wasn't even seen until 4ish days afterward. Wow he's an idiot!! I wonder if he is sleepless yet because of what he has done to HIMSELF!!!

  • mark

    Well, Im not sure about this guy, he should duck out until his legal status changes. He said innocent until proven guilty. Well, how about all the people that he put in jail that haven't been proven guilty yet?

  • richard

    Let's see......former Marine, former football player, republican, anger issues........Gee, what could it be????

  • arp

    What a lynch mob we've got going here!! The man has yet to be convicted of anything.

    • Kids First

      I think I will go out on a limb here to say this...
      Once you impregnate a person, the relationship has started.

    • Aaron

      On the court of oublic opinion he has. Sadly, he has no one to blame but himself.

    • Richard

      Well said arp

    • WW Glasser

      I am just taking him at his word.

  • 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.