(08/17/2006)
By Bob Weaver

A special magistrate ruled yesterday in Grantsville there is probable cause that former Grantsville chief of police Ronald Gordon sexually assaulted three women, moving the case ahead.

Gordon's defense attorney Ernest Skaggs said "We're all aware that hearsay is allowed in a preliminary hearing," questioning the truthfulness of the claims.

Jackson County magistrate Tom Reynolds sustained two charges of 2nd degree sexual assault and one charge of attempted sexual assault brought by special prosecutor Tom Kirk.

After Kirk expressed concerns about Gordon's bonding arrangements, the court decided to have Gordon's bond posted by a bonding company in lieu of a $3,000 cash bond posted by his wife.

Magistrate Reynolds denied the special prosecutors request to increase Gordon's bond, leaving it at $30,000, but did place Gordon on home confinement.

Reynolds said "The conditions of the bond are serious," telling attorney Skaggs that Gordon needs to be fully aware that any violation will lead to his immediate incarceration.

State Police officer Pete Sutton, Director of Investigative Support Services, took the stand and outlined the three cases against Gordon. Sutton will testify in the case, although he just retired from the agency.

Magistrate Reynolds let stand the use of initials to identify the three victims, a condition agreed upon by prosecutor Kirk and attorney Skaggs.

Sutton said in the case of "JP," Gordon sexually assaulted the woman in the Nicut area of Calhoun County in May, 2004 without her consent, but did not complete "the sexual act."

In the case of "SH," Sutton said Gordon took the woman to his house in the Orma area to supposedly draw urine for a drug test, Gordon was in charge of her home confinement.

"She wanted to return to her residence," said Sutton, saying instead she was sexually assaulted.

When questioned why none of the women issued a complaint at the time of the incidents, Sutton replied "They're all fearful of Mr. Gordon." Skaggs said one of the cases was 19 years ago.

Sutton said all the victims told other people about the assaults at the time they happened.

Skaggs asked Sutton if he knew "JP" had been in a property dispute with Gordon, implying that she might have had consensual sex with him (earlier). Sutton said "I learned there was a dispute over property."

"It comes down to their word against him (Gordon)," said Skaggs, "No witnesses and no physical evidence."

Prosecutor Kirk said "I think we have proved the possibility that a crime has been committed," which the magistrate sustained.

Gordon was relieved of his duties as the Grantsville Police Chief and Calhoun County's Home Confinement Officer earlier this year.

He was arrested in Virginia where he was working as a truck driver, and was extradited to West Virginia, the court pointed out Gordon was not in violation at the time for seeking employment in another state.


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