Pocahontas County man arrested for sexual assault in alleged incident involving teenager

BUCKHANNON – A Pocahontas County man who allegedly had sex with a 17-year-old against her will was arrested Wednesday.

Zachary A. Galford, 26, of Bartow, W.Va., was arrested Sept. 14, 2022, for second-degree sexual assault, a felony.

According to the criminal complaint filed in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s Office by Sgt. G.S. DeWeese with the Buckhannon detachment of the West Virginia State Police, DeWeese was contacted by Emily Bodkins, a juvenile probation officer, at 9:30 p.m. June 21 about an incident that reportedly occurred June 16, 2022.

The probation officer told state police about an alleged victim of sexual assault who said she “had been forcefully made to have sex at her grandfather’s residence in Upshur County,” the file states.

DeWeese met with the victim at her mother’s house, and she told him that Galford allegedly “had sex with her without her consent” on June 16, the police report says.

On June 27, 2022, an interview with the victim was conducted at the MountainCAP Child Advocacy Center in front of police. During the interview, the victim, who was 17 years old at the time the incident occurred, said that on the date in question, her cousin allegedly asked her to perform a sexual act on the cousin’s husband, Galford, for $50, the police report says.

“The victim advised she was reluctant to do this, but after multiple requests by her cousin she did [perform the act] on Galford,” DeWeese wrote in the complaint.

The victim also told interviewers and police that when she said no to having sex with Galford, he told her he would “double the money” if she would have sex with him. The victim said Galford then allegedly “took it upon himself and had nonconsensual intercourse with her,” according to the file.

The victim also gave police two copies of a printed-out SnapChat conversation between herself and her cousin in which the cousin had allegedly admitted that “technically” Galford had had sex with the victim against her will, the file states.

DeWeese met with Galford on Aug. 28, 2022, at the Elkins detachment of the West Virginia State Police. In a statement to the WVSP, Galford allegedly admitted he was at the victim’s grandfather’s house in Upshur County on June 16, 2022, but denied that the sexual acts occurred between himself and the victim.

According to West Virginia Code 61-8B-4, sexual assault in the second degree occurs when an adult engages “in sexual intercourse or sexual intrusion with another person without the person’s consent, and the lack of consent results from forcible compulsion” or the person “engages in sexual intercourse or sexual intrusion with another person who is physically helpless.”

Upshur County Magistrate Mark Davis set bail at $50,000 cash only, and Galford remained incarcerated as of Thursday afternoon, according to the West Virginia Regional Jail & Correctional Facility Authority.

The penalty for a conviction of second-degree sexual assault is imprisonment for not less than 10 nor more than 25 years in a state penitentiary or a fine ranging between $1,000 and $10,000.

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