Former West Virginia official pleads guilty to federal civil rights violation for sexual assault of 16-year-old girl | Takeover bid
A former West Virginia public servant has pleaded guilty to violating the civil rights of a 16-year-old victim by forcibly raping her in a bunk room at the Danville Fire Department in Danville, West Virginia. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Lisa G. Johnston for the Southern District of West Virginia, and Special Agent in Charge Mike Nordwall of the FBI Field Office in Pittsburgh made the announcement.
During the plea hearing in federal court for the Southern District of West Virginia, 26-year-old Christopher Osborne admitted that on or about January 19, 2021, while serving as an officer with the Marmet Police Department in Marmet, West Virginia, and firefighter. with the Charleston Fire Department in Charleston, West Virginia, and the Danville Volunteer Fire Department, he used his position, authority, and status as a firefighter to forcibly sexually assault the victim. Specifically, Osborne admitted that the victim told him she didn’t want to have sex, but he held her inside the firehouse bunk room and pulled her anyway. sexually assaulted, causing her pain and bodily harm.
“The defendant abused his official authority and position of power to perpetrate a violent sexual assault on a 16-year-old girl,” Assistant Attorney General Clarke said. “Officials who commit sexual assaults on vulnerable people will be held accountable. The Civil Rights Division will continue to use our criminal civil rights laws to defend survivors of these heinous crimes.
“As the plea in this case demonstrates, Osborne used his official authority to commit a violent sexual assault on a 16-year-old victim,” Acting U.S. Attorney Johnston said. “Osborne’s unlawful conduct constitutes a manifest deprivation of the minor’s civil rights. Such blatant abuse of power will not be tolerated. We continue to work with our law enforcement partners to defend victims of such crimes. I want to thank the FBI, West Virginia State Police, and the West Virginia Office of the Fire Marshal for their outstanding investigative efforts in this case.
“The facts of this case are troubling,” said the special agent in charge of Nordwall. “No one is above the law. As a public servant, Osborne broke his oath and victimized those he was sworn to protect. The FBI won’t look the other way.
With his guilty plea, the defendant faces a sentence of 14 years in prison, with a maximum of five years of probation, and registration as a sex offender under the federal law on registration and notification of sex offenders.
A sentencing date has been set for July 13.
This case was investigated by the Pittsburgh Division of the FBI with the support of the West Virginia State Police and the West Virginia State Fire Department. He is being prosecuted by District Attorney Kathryn E. Gilbert of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer Rada Herrald and Julie White for the Southern District of West Virginia.