"It was common knowledge people ended up in the [State Police] barracks with the hell beaten out of them," Hedges said. "It was so common something had to be done. Everyone knew the ones that did it and the ones that didn't."
The Supreme Court asked a criminal justice professor from Temple University, James J. Fyfe, to review the State Police's procedures when a trooper is accused of abuse. Fyfe recommended that outside groups and citizens participate in such investigations.
But Supreme Court justices ignored that recommendation when they ruled on Casto's petition in 1995. In a unanimous, unsigned opinion, they ordered the State Police to ensure a thorough investigation of abuse allegations be conducted by a neutral party. The court refused to require a civilian review panel, saying the State Police superintendent would still make the ultimate decision.
"Making a statement"
To this day, State Police refuse to release information about their investigations of their own troopers.
The lawsuit filed in November for the Gazette, by lawyer Sean McGinley and the firm DiTrapano, Barrett and DiPiero, asks for reports produced by the department's Professional Standards section, which handles internal investigations. It was set up after the Casto ruling in 1995.
The lawsuit was filed after requests for the public information from State Police and the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety were repeatedly denied. The original request said the names of troopers in the records could be hidden.
In past interviews, State Police Capt. Gordon Ingold, who runs the Professional Standards Section, has said legislative rules prevent him from releasing information about cases.
Legislative rule 81-10-6.2, part of the section that governs the State Police, says documents related to internal investigations "shall not be released ... except by the direction of the Superintendent or by order of a court with competent jurisdiction."
"We believe the rule prohibits telling anything, and we don't want to be in violation of the rule," Ingold has said.
Joe Ciccarelli, FBI supervisory senior resident agent in Charleston, has investigated allegations against the State Police. He believes the agency has an aggressive internal investigative unit.
The State Police keep detailed reports, in contrast to many smaller agencies, Ciccarelli said.
"I've had the State Police superintendent call me and say, 'Please investigate this.' There isn't a reluctance on their part," he said.
State Police set up the Professional Standards Division after the Casto ruling in 1993.
Eleven years later the State Police put Joe Parsons in charge of the Professional Standards Division -- the same Joe Parsons accused of beating 17-year-old Billy Ray Casto in 1990, the incident that led to the state Supreme Court ruling and the creation of the section. Parsons retired in 2008.
"It's unbelievable how the person that gave rise to the section, that they put him in charge," Hedges said. "It's the State Police making a statement."
"We did look at that original so-called irony with what took place back in 1991," Lt. Col. Dave Williams, then-State Police deputy superintendent, said at the time. "But there was no real concern or hesitation by those involved in the decision."
'The cover-up follows'
All of the State Police troopers named in Roger Wolfe's lawsuit -- Paul A. Green, Jason S. Crane, Kristy L. Layne and J.K. Rapp Jr. -- are still with the agency. It's not clear if they were disciplined in any way.
There will be no federal prosecution of the troopers, said Chuck Miller, assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia.
There were no eyewitnesses to the alleged beating, Wolfe's couldn't remember the details of what happened and the video equipment didn't work, Miller said. The troopers themselves all told the same story, he said.
Wolfe said he filed his lawsuit, not because he needed the money -- he doesn't -- but because he wanted to stop such incidents from happening to someone else.
"Our understanding of what they say, it changed over time, their version of events to their bosses. But the essence of what they said was that I tried to head butt them and they had to take me down," Wolfe said. "Meaning they threw me down on the floor. My injuries were completely inconsistent with falling down on the floor. I was handcuffed, remember."
Many victims sue, not because they want money but because they don't want to see someone else be the victims of similar abuse, Hedges said.
"They want to correct the problem but the system isn't set up to correct the problem. The way the system is constructed, the cover-up follows," Hedges said.
In Tuesday's Gazette: Some towns have or are looking at creating their own civilian review boards.
Reach Gary Harki at gha...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.