BUCKHANNON – A Buckhannon man was arrested Sunday for allegedly showing a 17-year-old girl an image of a naked man at a local haunted house.
Charles Smith, 68, of Buckhannon was arrested for displaying obscene material to a minor, a felony.
Tpr. Z.M. Lewis with the Buckhannon detachment of the West Virginia State Police filed the criminal complaint in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s Office, writing that on October 30, 2022, he “received a call from the Upshur County 911 Center in reference to an altercation that was occurring at the Maniac Mountain Haunted House on Teter Road in Buckhannon.”
Lewis was told an older male, later identified as Smith, had displayed a “graphic nude picture” to a 17-year-old juvenile girl. According to the report, Smith had left the scene and was on foot, walking toward his home on Nimbus Road.
Lewis patrolled the area and identified a Jeep carrying a passenger matching the description he was given.
“While speaking to the accused he admitted and stated to showing a nude picture of a ‘black man’ to a ’17 or 18 year old,'” the complaint states. “The age of the victim at this time was unknown. This officer escorted the accused back to the scene where Deputy Bender of the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office was interviewing the victim and witnesses.”
Lewis then learned that the victim and Smith had allegedly talked previously on WhatsApp.
“A screenshot from the accused and victim’s conversation shows the accused stating ‘You are cute sweetie’ to the victim,” the complaint states.
Bender told Lewis that Smith allegedly asked the victim if she wanted to see a picture.
“After showing the picture, which was of a naked black male, he advised her if ‘she wanted it’ he could have her meet him for sex,” according to the complaint.
Lewis placed Smith under arrest for Displaying Obscene Material to a Minor. During questioning, Smith allegedly stated that he did show a naked picture of a black male to the victim while at Maniac Mountain.
Bail was set at $50,000 cash only by Upshur County Magistrate Alan Suder.
The potential penalty for the display of obscene material to a minor is confinement in a state correctional facility for not more than five years, a fine of not more than $25,000, or both.