DELBARTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is seeking a civil rights injunction against teachers and administrators at Burch Middle School in Mingo County for allegedly covering up repeated acts of sexual assault and abuse.

Morrisey alleges school policy was not followed and the state’s Human Rights Act violated when the acts weren’t reported by school personnel.

(Read detailed court filing here)

The court filing alleges two boys at the school were assaulting multiple girls repeatedly. Morrisey said when the girls tried to report what was happening school personnel turned against them.

“The female victims were threatened with discipline and retaliated against by members of the Burch Middle School administration,” the attorney general told MetroNews.

The court action names Burch Middle School Principal Melissa Webb, vice principal Deanna Maynard, guidance counselor Hester Keatley, teacher and coach Melvin Cunningham, Mingo County School Superintendent Randy Keathley, the Mingo County School Board, the two boys and their parents as defendants.

Morrisey said the girls have a right to go to school without fear and they will be seeking a ruling from Mingo County Circuit Court.

“To restore the ability of the children to attend the public school and receive a public education without the fear of sexual abuse and harassment,” Morrisey said.

The request for injunction outlines allegations that school personnel knew acts of sexual assault and abuse were happening but chose to cover them up.

“The defendants intentionally disregarded and violated school policies which were intended to protect the female juvenile victims,” Morrisey said. “We also allege in the complaint that the defendants allowed and concealed sexual violence and sexual harassment at the school in violation of their policy and the Human Rights Act.”

Morrisey said the assaults should have been reported to police. He said his office contacted State Police which are conducting a criminal investigation. No criminal charges have been filed. Morrisey is also working with the West Virginia Human Rights Commission.

Burch Middle School is located in Delbarton.

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  • Sharon

    This is just an example of the weak administration in Mingo County Schools. Since the system is under the State control shouldn't there be someone in the central office that can actually run the schools properly. Obviously R. Keatley has never been the right person for the job either as assistant superintendent who let individuals get away with such acts and now as the superintendent. Come on WV State Board of Education "WAKE UP"

  • Bill MC

    I don't understand why so called professionals would ruin their careers trying to protect these two juveniles. Years of study and hard work gone because they forgot their duty; all that was required was to make the call and let the chips fall where they may. Maybe they thought they were damned if they did or damned if they didn't because of the juveniles’ parents. Now nothing but ruined lives for all of them, in addition to the money, it’s going to cost them in income and defending themselves. I bet they are asking themselves now, WHY DID I NOT JUST MAKE THE CALL!

  • notorious

    I wish we could just give Mingo Co to Kentucky. Its places like Mingo Co that make WV a punchline to the rest of the country.

  • AJ

    Mingo County is far and away the worst. Awful people there.

  • ViennaGuy

    And the "Mingo County rabbit hole of corruption"(credit to Mr. Kercheval for that phrase) just gets deeper and deeper.

    The corruption in Mingo County is so deep-rooted that I don't know if it can ever be totally eliminated. It's terrible for both the county and our state.

    I hope that the victims and their families get the help they need to overcome this tragedy(and that's exactly what it is, a tragedy). If they are proven guilty, the perpetrators(from the juveniles all the way up to the school administrators) need to be locked up for a long time to come.

  • William

    A federal investigative team should move into the county and take up permanent residence in Mingo County. It's pretty obvious our Governor has no clue what's going on against his constituency and it's obvious you can't trust anyone with authority in this state anymore.

    • Shadow

      The last time I checked, the Attorney General was from the West Virginia State Government. What do you want? Another Fast and Furious or IRS or Benghazi award winning FBI type of coverup. I am not sure that Mingo County is worse than the FBI or DOJ for corruption?

  • Roger

    Have these school personnel been removed and placed on admin leave? Is someone else actively protecting these victims at the school now?

  • Hillbilly

    Interesting to note that the principal and vice principal are female... usually they would be inclined to side with the females but not in this case. Also interesting how a second grader somewhere chewed a chicken nugget into what someone saw as "the shape of a gun" and got expelled, but here we have middle school sexual assault and they try to sweep that under the rug.

  • James

    Wow, why doesn't the Governor just liquidate Mingo County. I'm sure there are good people there, but it seems as though it's a cesspool. There is no end to the corrupt and conspiracy rich behavior and attitudes in this county. I hope all involved are dealt with severely in both civil and criminal courts.

  • Jay

    If true, this is just another sad case in complete and utter stupidity. Who in their right mind doesn't take complaints such as those levied by the female students seriously?! If we can't protect our kids, how can we expect to be responsible for anything in this life?!


    (NOTE: I'm all for innocent until proven guilty. I realize these actions, or inactions, are alleged. I hope this entire situation isn't as bad as alleged...for all involved.)

    • rose


      Read the court filing.

      Probably worse.

      • Jay

        NOTE: I don't have time to read the court filing. That's why I rely on news organizations such as Metro News to report the highlights.

  • Billy

    This story would be a good case for bringing back tar and feathering.

  • Billy

    If the investigation turns up that the civil charges are in fact true, criminal charges should follow soon. As they should be. Educators with control of our children can't be let off with anything less that the maximum sentence for such behavior, when and if it gets to that point.

  • JClintB

    All of these defendants needs to be removed from their jobs because they did not do their jobs and they did not protect these girls from this abuse by these two bullies, and they need to be charged with crimes also. These defendants are a disgrace and should never be allowed to hold positions in the school system again.


    This is also happening in other schools in WV as well' children are being bullied & reporting it to teachers who do nothing about it or vice principal. a student several months ago even brought a hand gun to school this was quietly smoothed over.

  • Jonus Grumby

    Mingo County in the bulls-eye again. Sounds like an interesting place. So sad for the folks who live there.