HUNTINGTON - A Cabell County man is suing members of the West Virginia State Police Department, saying they wrongfully arrested him on child abuse counts.

In his complaint, Geoffery D. Johnston of Milton says he was arrested Jan. 10, 2005, by Corporal Sally A. Hatton on four counts of felony child abuse and four counts of child neglect.

The lawsuit, filed pro se by Johnston, states the charges were "unlawful and completely untrue."

Johnston says Col. David Lemon, superintendent of the West Virginia State Police Department, authorized the arrest and charges based on information provided by Hatton and without individual confirmation, physical evidence or proven basis of fact. Hatton, Johnston says, conveyed to the public that he was a child abuser.

"Authorizing (Hatton) to make such charges and arrest meant ... (Johnston) was a person of bad reputation who could not be trusted in the presence of minor children or in the community," the suit states.

Johnston appears in magistrate court in Lincoln County on Jan. 21, 2005.

Because of the false charges and arrest and malicious accusations, made by Hatton, Johnston claims he has been disgraced and that his good name and character has been tarnished. He was suffered humiliation and shame and has been deprived of his constitutional right to freedom, a good social standing and relationships.

He is seeking general and specific damages, punitive damages and court costs.

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