FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. — The state Supreme Court vacated a Fayette County circuit judge’s ruling in a written opinion handed down Thursday.

The High Court said Circuit Judge John Hatcher erred when he dismissed six of eight criminal counts against Fayette County school bus driver Steven “Rick” Malay, Sr. Malay, 55, of Fayetteville, was charged with having sex with a 14-year-old Oak Hill girl who rode his school bus.

Six of the eight criminal counts were in connection with alleged sex the two had at the girl’s home while her parents slept. Judge Hatcher said Malay was not in a position of trust as the girl’s bus driver when those alleged acts occurred. Fayette County Prosecutor Carl Harris appealed Hatcher’s ruling to the Supreme Court.

Thursday’s opinion cited several examples where the High Court had previously ruled that determining whether or not a defendant is in a custodian at the time of a sex-related crime is for a jury to decide, not a judge.

The opinion concluded “the trial court exceeded its legitimate authority in dismissing six counts of the indictment charging Mr. Malay with sexual abuse by a parent, guardian, custodian or person in a position of trust pursuant to West Virginia Code § 61-8D-5. Accordingly, the portion of the circuit court’s November 12, 2013, order dismissing those six counts is vacated, and this action is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

Justice Allen Loughry authored the Court’s opinion.

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  • Pickle Barrel

    WVSCA got this one right. Prosecutor needs to refile the charges.

    • Bev

      From what I'm hearing, the Prosecutor isn't refiling but offering the gentleman a plea deal. I'm wondering why he even came to the SC if he was going to do that. This guy doesn't even deserve a "meal deal"! This is the problem with our justice system now....the perpetrators get all the breaks! How many children must suffer and/or die at the hands of these kinds of pedophiles before even common sense kicks in? Just how many more? Your Grandchildren, Judge Hatcher? Your children/ grandchildren, Mr Prosecutor? How about the Presidents girls? Would they be important enough to draw someone's attention to the matter?
      I doubt it....children enter this world everyday....just indispensable, aren't they? God help you all! I'm praying for them; are you?

  • Beverly Grey

    ANY ADULT is a person of trust to a child!
    "Grooming" and gaining the potential victim/victims trust, love and their feelings of security (with that particular adult/ them) when they are with them, is part of a pedophilias "job".
    This trust, love and false sense of security draws a child close to them.
    Yes, this man indeed was in a position that, whether on the job or not....he was suppose to be a person of trust.

  • northforkfisher

    He should be still considered to be a person of trust because he met during that time. That said meeting is what let to the rude acts that followed.

  • Hillbilly

    Position of Trust or not, he's still should be charged with sex with a minor.

  • DWL

    Why is this "judge" still sitting on the bench?

    • Court Watcher

      Errors in judicial opinions are not grounds for dismissal. Our court system is set up to correct the occasional judicial error...not to punish the judge who erred.

      • DWL

        A ruling of this magnitude is not an error. It's malpractice, inept and outright stupid. This is a mistake on the level of a third rate want to be lawyer, much less a sitting jurist. He needs to be disbarred.