CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Judicial Investigation Commission has formally charged Randolph County Circuit Judge Jaymie Wilfong with violating the Code of Judicial Conduct for a romantic relationship she had with a Randolph County employee.
The JIC issued the charges Monday and said that following an investigation it learned Judge Wilfong had an ongoing sexual relationship with North Central Community Corrections Director Travis Carter.
The JIC investigated five complaints against Wilfong and the information she self-reported. The commission has forwarded two charges to the state Judicial Hearing Board for consideration.
The JIC alleges Judge Wilfong and Carter had sex numerous times in Wilfong’s courthouse chambers, and at times, in between court hearings. They were both married when the relationship took place. The charges allege Wilfong violated the integrity of the judiciary by having the relationship with a person who also appeared before her on numerous occasions on community corrections issues.
Judge Wilfong, according to the information released Monday, repeatedly asked Randolph County Assistant Prosecutor Lori Gray to allow her and Carter to use Gray’s residence “to further her relationship and sexual contact with Carter.” The charges said Wilfong asked asked for and gained the use of a garage owned by Randolph County attorney Phillip Isner.
The charges also speak of contact the two had by cellphone including nude photos the Judge Wilfong took of herself and sent to Carter.
Wilfong answered the charges Monday calling it a “complicated” relationship that began in Oct. 2011 and continued “periodically” for two years. She called the relationship inappropriate.
“This relationship was not a fling,” Wilfong wrote. “I foolishly thought we were going to be together, but fortunately that did not occur. Since this relationship has ended, I have been able to reconnect with my husband and we are actively working on our marriage so we can remain together.”
Judge Wilfong maintains her relationship with Carter did not impact her work as judge.
“The Statement of Charges does not allege that my work on the bench was compromised by the relationship; it alleges that the appearance of the judicial system and its integrity were harmed and I admit that,” Wilfong said.
Wilfong said since the relationship went public seven months ago not one litigant before her has requested a rehearing.
“I trust when all of the facts are learned about this matter, people will determine that though what I did was wrong, it did not impair my ability to conduct court and do the work the people of Randolph County hired me to do.”
The Judicial Hearing Board will consider the charges and forward a recommendation on to the state Supreme Court. There are numerous options of what could happen ranging from a mild rebuke to suspending Judge Wilfong without pay for the rest of her term.