The Times West Virginian

Local News

July 8, 2014

Former EFHS teacher pleads guilty to sex charges

Avoids prison sentence, fines

FAIRMONT — A former East Fairmont High School teacher has pleaded guilty to sexual abuse charges involving a student.

Michael J. Waller, 30, of Fairmont, pleaded guilty Monday to sexual abuse by a person in a position of trust to a child.

Waller was arrested in June 2013 for having sexual relationships between May 1 and May 28, 2013, with a 17-year-old student at East Fairmont High School, where Waller taught driver’s education.

Waller resigned from EFHS during the investigation of the case. The victim told Sgt. Adam Scott with the State Police Crimes Against Children Unit that she wanted to have a physical relationship with Waller but when he was arrested, wished she wouldn’t have.

Waller entered a plea agreement with the Marion County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and Judge David Janes agreed to the agreement.

The agreement sentences Waller to 10-20 years on home confinement with the option of coming back into court after serving one year to ask to have supervised release. If granted, Waller would be under supervised release for three years, then under additional supervision for 20 years.

“There is a sexual supervision unit that specifically monitors people who have been convicted of these kinds of crimes,” Prosecuting Attorney Patrick Wilson said. “They will be the ones responsible for following him for those years afterwards.”

Wilson said the requirements and supervision for Waller are “very strict.”

By pleading guilty to the charges, Waller avoids the 10-20 years in prison and a fine from $500 to $5,000.

With the plea agreement, Waller has three days to register as a sexual offender and must remain registered for the rest of his life. If Waller moves to another town, state or county, he must register there as well.

The original criminal complaint with Scott stated that the victim told Scott that her and Waller’s physical relationship began after she spent the night at his home; she left her car at a friend’s house and he picked her up; and they had physical relations twice that night.

Waller told the victim she couldn’t tell anyone about what had happened because “he could get into trouble” and she should lie if her parents found out. She said he also touched her inappropriately on two other occasions.

During the plea hearing Monday, Prosecuting Attorney Patrick Wilson said Waller did tell the victim not to tell anyone about their relationship. Wilson said that the sexual acts were consensual and took that into consideration.

Wilson told Janes Monday that after speaking with the victim’s family in this case, they have no objections to the plea agreement. Wilson said anytime an event like this has taken place with a minor, it can be traumatic and difficult.

“I think the family now just wants to get on with their lives,” he said.

Email Emily Gallagher at egallagher@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @EGallagherTWV.

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