CHARLESTON - A state panel is expected to recommend to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals that Cabell County Magistrate Alvie Qualls be forced to retire after allegations of sexual harassment.
The longtime magistrate denied the allegations, but the nine-member panel ruled that Qualls violated the judicial code of conduct after hearing the testimony of five women who worked with or had contact with Qualls at the Cabell County Courthouse.
The women, including Sarah McGuffin, who filed a formal complaint against Qualls, claim the incidents happened repeatedly between 2005 and 2007.
Qualls was charged with making inappropriate comments to two assistants and other female employees. The allegations include claims that Qualls indicated his assistant needed to lose weight, questions about her body and the suggestion that she should wear suggestive clothing.
The formal charges against Qualls state that he violated four canons of the judicial code. The charges claims he violated a duty to uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary, to avoid impropriety and appearance of impropriety in all activities, to perform duties impartially and diligently, along with a duty to perform without bias or prejudice.
Qualls has served as a magistrate in Cabell County for more than 26 years. His current term is up in January 2009, and he has filed to re-election.