Buckhannon woman arrested for alleged sexual abuse

BUCKHANNON – An Upshur County woman was arrested Friday for allegedly sexual abusing her four-year-old great-grandson.

Barbara S. Mitchell, 59, of Buckhannon, was arrested on one count of sexual abuse by a parent, guardian, custodian or person in a position of trust to a child, a felony.

According to the criminal complaint filed in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s office by Trooper First Class P.J. Robinette with the Buckhannon detachment of the West Virginia State Police, on Dec. 29, 2020, Robinette received a complaint about alleged sexual abuse that was dispatched through the E911 Upshur County Communication Center.

When Robinette contacted the complainant, a female, the woman told him that her four-year-old son had approached her that day to tell her that Mitchell, her grandmother and her son’s great-grandmother, had allegedly “touched [her son] inappropriately.” The incident reportedly occurred Dec. 22, 2020, the file says.

On Jan. 22, 2021, the child participated in a forensic interview at Mountain CAP Child Advocacy Center. During the course of the interview, the four-year-old told interviewers that “Grandma did just scare me,” according to the file. When interviewers asked how Mitchell had scared him, he indicated she touched him inappropriately in his genital area, the report says.

The same day Mitchell allegedly confessed to law enforcement that she had touched the victim’s genitals inappropriately on Dec. 22, 2020, and that it was an isolated incident. Mitchell and the infant resided in the same home at the time, the report says.

Bail was set at $50,000 cash only.

The penalty for a conviction of sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or custodian is imprisonment in the state penitentiary for not less than 10 nor more than 20 years or a fine ranging between $500 and $5,000 and confinement in the state penitentiary for 10-20 years.  

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