CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Officials with the state Regional Jail Authority buried documents that would have shed light on a correctional officer's history of sexual-abuse allegations, according to a lawyer whose client settled a lawsuit against the officer last year.
Mike Woelfel, an attorney who represents regional jail inmates in dozens of sexual-assault lawsuits against the state, said during a hearing in Kanawha Circuit Court last week that jail officials concealed hundreds of pages of documents that would have detailed William Roy Wilson's employment history at Western Regional Jail, in Barboursville.
Melissa Lusk sued Wilson, alleging that he sexually abused her when she was an inmate there. She settled the case for more than $9,000, before learning that the jail had a 300-page file on Wilson that contained dozens of misconduct allegations, Woelfel said.
Weeks after the settlement, the Jail Authority turned over the file after State Police arrested Wilson in September and charged him with four counts of imposition of sexual acts of persons under supervision. The charges indicate that Wilson gave inmates cigarettes in exchange for sex, according to Associated Press reports.
On Thursday, Woelfel asked Kanawha Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib Jr. to set aside the settlement and reopen the case.
"I could have said to my client, a jury can hear that this happened before -- that there's a common thread here between you two ladies and this other person," Woelfel told the judge. "It's like I was deprived of the right to do that."
Lusk sued Wilson in 2011, and asked the jail to hand over the officer's employment records in November of that year. Jail officials did not produce the file until August 2012, according to Woelfel.
During a deposition that same month, Woelfel asked Wilson if he had ever been the subject of previous sexual-assault allegations. Wilson "flatly denied" it, according to court files.