A Gilmer County man is facing a host of sexual abuse charges after West Virginia State Police said he abused an underage girl over a five year period.

From 2012 to 2017, Earnest Richards, 72 (right) of Normantown, abused the girl at least 50 times, according to his criminal complaint.

Richards would often give the victim money and tell her not to tell anyone, the complaint said.

When interviewed by State Troopers, Richards said, “It could have accidentally occurred while we were wrestling around.” When asked how many times that could have happened, Richards told investigators, “maybe 30 times.”

Richards is charged with five counts of first degree sexual abuse and five counts of sexual abuse by a parent or guardian.

He is being held in the Central Regional Jail, with no bail currently listed.