CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia State Police didn't tell Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants that a former trooper likely committed a crime, according to court documents provided to the Gazette-Mail.
The State Police says in the documents that former trooper Derek Snavely falsified his duty log - a fact they left out of their criminal investigation report to Plants' office. A Charleston woman had accused Snavely of forcing her to have sex with him.
Based on the report, Plants decided not to prosecute Snavely. The woman has since sued Snavely and the State Police.
Plants said that if the State Police knew that Snavely -- who now is the police chief in Hinton -- had falsified his duty log, it should have been included in the case file.
"I don't know that file. I'll have to take your word on it," he said. "What's important here is ... if that [falsified document] exists, that is something that we should have been made aware of. It should have been included in the report that I received."
The 14-page Criminal Investigation Report, prepared by State Police 1st Lt. L.A. Bailes for Plants' office, makes no mention of a duty log, let alone of its being falsified. The log also is not mentioned in the list of exhibits attached to the report.
However, the State Police, in response to a series of questions from the woman's lawyer, Mike Clifford, said Snavely clearly altered his duty log:
"A copy of Defendant Snavely's duty log has previously been disclosed [to Clifford]. Notwithstanding, it is apparent that he falsified that log from the time that he met with Plaintiff until the end of his shift. Upon information and belief, the actions represented prior to Defendant Snavely's involvement with Plaintiff are accurate."
Sgt. Michael Baylous, spokesman for the State Police, said he would not talk about the Snavely case.
"I have discussed that with our legal counsel," he said. "I am not at liberty to make a statement on that case because it is currently in civil litigation."
Altering public records is punishable by up to a year in jail or a $1,000 fine, according to State Code 61-5-22. The law reads that if any public officers "fraudulently make a false entry, or erase, alter or destroy any record in his keeping and belonging to his office ... he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor."
Had Snavely been convicted of a misdemeanor, he probably would have been reviewed by the state Law Enforcement Training Subcommittee, which has the power to decertify police officers.
The subcommittee has decided to consider decertifying officers only if they have been convicted of a jailable offense, Chuck Sadler, state law enforcement training coordinator, has said.
Even if Snavely were decertified, he still could be Hinton's police chief, Sadler said.