MARLINTON – In addition to those leveled by Teressa Schoolcraft, Bradley C. Totten will soon have to answer allegations he used his position as a deputy sheriff to exert undue influence over a woman into sex.
Totten is named as a co-defendant in a four-count civil rights suit filed by Jessica Roberts. In her complaint filed Oct. 5 in Pocahontas Circuit Court, Roberts, 33 and of Dunmore, alleges after a chance encounter two years ago, Totten began a six-month campaign of sexually harassing her.
According to her suit, Totten on an unspecified date in August 2010 responded to a domestic violence call involving Fields and her mother. Afterwards, he drove Fields to a nearby gas station and filled her tank.
A few days later, Fields says she began receiving anonymous messages on Facebook from someone who “promised to help her handle her ongoing support case in family court” and wanted to “hang out.” The person was later revealed as Totten, she says.
In the course of one of their discussions, Fields says Totten touted his “authority to do many things, including planting something on someone.” Fearing what he might do, Fields says she relented when Totten pressured her to have sex with him on Sept. 1, 2010.
The encounter, Fields alleges, happened while Totten “was on duty and in uniform” and in his cruiser. A month later, Fields says they had another sexual encounter his in cruiser with Totten “inform(ing) other officers what he was doing over (his) CB radio.”
According to the suit, Totten secretly filmed one of the encounters. The tape has since been seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as part of an “ongoing investigation” of Totten.
The FBI assisted the West Virginia State Police in conducting an investigation into allegations that over the last 20 years Totten either had sex with women who were either under 16 years old at the time or were serving court-ordered sentences through the county Day Report Center while he was working as a deputy. The investigation led to two separate indictments returned against Totten by the Pocahontas County grand jury this year alleging 58 counts of sex-related crimes against eight women, including Schoolcraft.
According the suit, communication between Fields and Totten ceased until March 2011 when she started working for the prosecutor’s office. After beginning her job, Fields says Totten again not only “began pressuring (her) for sexual intercourse,” but also “began harassing her in a sexual nature at the Pocahontas County Courthouse.”
Totten’s advances were “continual and unwelcome” to the point where she quit a month later, she claims.
In her suit, Fields not only accuses Totten of civil rights violations, but also the Commission, which is named as a co-defendant, for enabling a hostile work environment, and constructive discharge. Because the Commission failed to take timely action to “adequately investigate or discipline or terminate” Totten for his actions, Fields alleges she’s suffered, among other things, emotional and mental anguish, humiliation and embarrassment and loss of income.
Fields seeks unspecified damages, interest, court costs and attorneys fees. She is represented by D. Geoff Varney with the Klie Law Offices in Buckhannon.
Pocahontas Circuit Court, case number 12-C-40