CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Joshua Nicewarner will spend up to 10 years behind bars after attempting to seduce a minor in June 2016.
Nicewarner pleaded guilty in March to two felony charges — one count of soliciting a minor via computer and one count of distributing obscene matter to a minor.
Harrison County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Bedell sentenced Nicewarner Monday to no less than two years and no more than 10 years for the count of solicitation.
He is also required to register as a sex offender for life.
Bedell suspended an additional five year sentence for the distribution. Nicewarner will instead be placed on seven years probation following the completion of his sentencing. No fine is imposed on either charge.
Defense Attorney Belinda Haynie asked for her client’s sentencing to be waived and he instead be placed on a period of probation, as he “is not a danger to be out in the community,” she said.
Nicewarner followed that request with his own statement, expressing remorse for the harm that he has caused to the victim, the victim’s family and his own family.
“I hope and pray daily that she will come out of this stronger,” he said. “I am the adult, and I shouldn’t have let this happen.”
Nicewarner has spent the last eight months in counseling, and Haynie called two clinical psychologists to testify on their respective evaluations of Nicewarner.
Dr. William Fremouw, a forensic psychologist who practices in Morgantown, also completed an adult sex offender risk evaluation for his client. Both he, and Terry Laurita Sigley, a clinical psychologist within the same practice, feel Nicewarner is not at risk of a repeat offense.
“Josh has never wavered from his accountability,” Sigley said. “He is aware he has one direct victim and several indirect victims as well.”
Based on their testimony, Haynie advocated that Nicewarner “is not a danger to be out in the community,” she said.
The victim’s parents also spoke during the hearing, urging the court to hand down “the full sentence allowed by law,” the victim’s father said. He stated that by not giving the maximum statement, the court is sending a negative message to the students, parents and educators of Harrison County.
The 14-year-old’s mother added that her daughter’s identity is forever changed by Nicewarner’s actions.
“The defendant has left her in her own personal prison,” she said.
Nicewarner was immediately taken into custody following the hearing.