was an LDS church member and middle school band teacher in West Virginia; found guilty of child sexual abuse

Case Summary

Timothy Turner was a Mormon church member and school teacher in West Virginia.

He was convicted of a sex crime in 2020.

From River News on August 23, 2018:

A middle school teacher with the Brooke County School District was arrested yesterday. The Brooke County Sheriff’s Office said Timothy Turner, who is a music teacher in the Brooke County School District was arrested on a single charge of sexual abuse of a child.

Turner is also the president of The Brooke County Education Association, the teachers union for the district.

Authorities say Turner had turned himself in Wednesday to Sheriff’s deputies. Officials say due to the ongoing investigation, no other information will be released right now.

Full press release form, Brooke County Sheriff’s Office:

On Wednesday, August 22, 2018, following an investigation, the Brooke County Sheriff’s Office arrested Timothy Turner, current teacher at Brooke County Schools, for the charge of sexual abuse of a child by a person of trust. This crime allegedly occurred in 2015, not on school grounds, and was recently brought to light which ignited the investigation. Turner turned himself in to BCSO for his arrest and will be arraigned in front of a Brooke County Magistrate. Due to the ongoing investigation, no further details will be released.”

from the Brooke County Prosecutor on January 30, 2020:

David F. Cross, Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney of Brooke County, West Virginia, advises the press that:

Timothy Turner, who was born on the 30th day of October, 1975, and who in July of 2015 resided at 971 Jefferson Avenue, Follansbee, West Virginia, was indicted by the November 2018 Term of the Brooke County Grand Jury for the felony offenses of “Sexual Abuse by a Person in a Position of Trust to a Child”, “Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree”, and “Soliciting a Minor via Computer”.

A 12 person jury trial was conducted in the Circuit Court of Brooke County, West Virginia, during the time period of January 27th, January 28th, and January 29th, 2020. The State of West Virginia, represented by David F. Cross, Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, presented the testimony of 11 witnesses all of whom testified under oath at the trial of the matter. Mr. Timothy Turner outside the presence of the jury entered into a plea agreement with the State as opposed to the jury rendering a verdict after having had the opportunity to hear and see the State’s witnesses testify at trial and to give consideration to the numerous exhibits which were admitted into evidence at trial. The Honorable Ronald E. Wilson, Judge of the First Judicial Circuit, found that the plea agreement which was presented was in the best interest of justice and accepted the plea agreement presented by counsel for the parties. The Jurors were then excused from service.

Timothy Turner entered a plea of guilty to the felony offense of “Malicious Assault”. He was sentenced by the Court to serve not less than 2 nor more than 10 years in the Division of Corrections. The Division of Corrections will determine in conjunction with the Court the number of years that Mr. Turner will be incarcerated in the Division of Corrections. Mr. Turner was required as part of the plea agreement to voluntarily surrender his teaching license and will never be able to teach either in the State of West Virginia or any other state in the future. The Judge ordered Mr. Turner to begin serving his sentence when he will report to the West Virginia Division of Corrections on the 17th day of February, 2020, by 9:00 a.m. and released him from the courtroom on post-conviction bond.

The State presented evidence at trial consisting of witness testimony and exhibits. The witnesses and exhibits presented as proof at the trial showed that Mr. Turner was 39 years old at the time of the events in July of 2015. The evidence also showed that the victim of the crime was 14 years of age. The evidence presented at the trial showed that Mr. Turner was a school teacher at Wellsburg Middle School during the 2014-2015 school year and the victim of the offense was an 8th grade female student at Wellsburg Middle School. The evidence presented showed that Mr. Turner and the victim were alone together during the entire school year at lunchtime and that there were occasions during the school year that Mr. Turner and the victim were alone together in the band room. The evidence presented at the trial showed that Mr. Turner had a Facebook page and a Facebook Messenger Application which allowed him to send messages and images to the victim who received them on her cell phone. The evidence showed that Mr. Turner sent numerous messages to the victim at the end of the 2014-2015 school year and following the school year and even into subsequent years including when the victim was a sophomore in high school. The evidence establishes that through the Facebook Messages a plan was created where Mr. Turner was to meet the victim of the crime in a secluded area in Bethany, sometime between the end of the school year and the beginning of July 2015. Mr. Turner drove from his residence in Follansbee to Bethany, West Virginia, near the Bethany Park and Mr. Turner and the victim went to the creek near the park where he began fishing and talking with the victim. While the two of them were standing by the creek Mr. Turner placed his arms around the victim and began kissing her. The evidence showed this was the first occasion of sexual contact between the two. The testimony at trial then showed that Mr. Turner continued to send messages to the victim which messages became sexual in nature and included messages concerning sexual acts and sexual positions. The evidence showed that these messages were observed by at least two other witnesses who were present at the time they were received by the victim. These two witnesses described with particularity the sexual nature of the messages received by the victim. The evidence presented at the trial also showed that in the early part of July, 2015, while Mr. Turner’s wife was away at a church camp for teenage girls Mr. Turner went to the residence of the victim where he talked with the victim’s father and Mr. Turner took the victim in his car away from the victim’s home, her parents believing that they were going to listen to music at the Wellsburg City Park where the 4th of July celebration. The evidence presented at trial showed that Mr. Turner did not take the victim to the park but instead took her to his residence in Follansbee. After Mr. Turner and the victim arrived at his residence Mr. Turner and the victim went to his bedroom where the victim observed a quite unique blanket on the bed which included an image of a wolf which the victim described along with the location of the house and the interior of the residence when interviewed by law enforcement. This wolf blanket was subsequently seized by the Brooke County Sheriff’s Department 3 years later at Mr. Turner’s residence in Hancock County. While in the bedroom the evidence presented at trial showed that Mr. Turner and the victim began kissing and while they were kissing Mr. Turner touched the breasts of the victim. The evidence presented at trial then indicated that Mr. Turner and the victim laid down on the bed with Mr. Turner on top of the victim and eventually the victim was disrobed except for her underwear and Mr. Turner was fully disrobed, put on a condom and physically approached the victim at which point the victim told Mr. Turner to stop and Mr. Turner stopped. Mr. Turner and the victim then put their clothes on and left the residence and went to the Wellsburg City Park where the victim was visited by her Grandmother.

The charges against Mr. Turner resulted from an investigation by the Brooke County Sheriff’s Department with the lead officer being Gary Conley. The State was represented by David F. Cross, Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney. Mr. Turner was represented by Attorney Robert McCoid of Wheeling, West Virginia. The case was presided over by the Honorable Ronald E. Wilson, Judge of the First Judicial Circuit.”

from the West Virginia Record on May 18, 2020:

WELLSBURG – A Brooke County woman has filed a civil lawsuit claiming a Wellsburg Middle School music teacher sexually abused her when she was a student there.

The woman, identified only as J.R., filed her complaint May 18 in Brooke Circuit Court against the county school board and teacher Timothy Thomas Turner.

In the 12-page complaint, the woman says she attended Wellsburg Middle School, where Turner was the music teacher. The school since has closed, consolidating into Brooke Middle School.

Turner

During her eighth-grade year, the plaintiff says she often had detention, and Turner often supervised detention. She says she and Turner often interacted during detention “and a relationship began.” She says she often ate lunch with Turner even when she wasn’t in detention, and she says she often spent time with Turner alone in the band room.

“Other teachers, school administrators, and students were aware that defendant Turner and plaintiff spent as much time as possible together in school,” the complaint states. “Although not enrolled in a music program at the school, J.R. had mentioned an interest in learning to play violin and defendant Turner offered to teach her how to play outside of school hours.”

The complaint says Turner later conspired to spend more time with the plaintiff outside of school hours. Such incidents included a trip to the Wellsburg Fourth of July Festival and a meeting at a park near J.R.’s home in Bethany.

“During these two meetings, defendant Turner had inappropriate contact of a sexual and/or romantic nature with J.R.,” the complaint states, adding that the plaintiff was 14 years old at the time. Turner was 39.

According to the complaint, a Brooke High School student told a teacher in 2018 that she was aware of a Wellsburg Middle School teacher being sexually involved with J.R. during the summer of 2015. That led to a three-count grand jury indictment against Turner charging him with sexual abuse by a person in a position of trust to a child, third-degree sexual abuse and soliciting a minor via computer.

Prior to the end of his trial this January, Turner entered a plea to a misdemeanor offense of battery. He voluntarily and permanently surrendered his teaching certificate as part of the plea. He currently is serving a two-year prison term at the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville.

The civil complaint accuses the defendants of vicarious liability, civil conspiracy, fraudulent concealment, sexual assault and harassment at school, violation of state code and negligent infliction of emotional distress. It accuses the school board of negligent retention, hiring and supervision, and it accuses Turner of violating state code for having sexual relations with plaintiff when she was a child.

J.R. seeks compensatory damages for her injuries, which include permanent physical injuries, past and future pain, suffering and mental anguish; past and future lost enjoyment of life; past and future humiliation; embarrassment; indignity; shame; economic damages; diminished earning capacity; future lost wages; attorney fees; court costs and other relief.

She is being represented by Teresa Toriseva and Joshua Miller of Toriseva Law in Wheeling. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Michael J. Olejasz.

Brooke Circuit Court case number 20-C-33″

Sources
  1. Press Release – Timothy Turner
    view source details | 30 Jan 2020 | Brooke County Prosecutor
  2. Brooke Co. Middle School Teacher Arrested for Sexual Abuse
    view source details | 23 Aug 2018 | River News
  3. Brooke County woman says middle school teacher sexually abused her as student
    view source details | 18 May 2020 | West Virginia Record
Sources excerpts

Mormon Sexual Abuse Map

International map of locations where active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints perpetrated or allegedly perpetrated sexual abuse or other sex crimes, or where LDS leaders failed or allegedly failed to help abuse survivors.