CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said his office – on behalf of the West Virginia Human Rights Commission – can move forward in an enforcement action against a Monongalia County landlord.
Gary Walden 64, pleaded guilty in Monongalia Circuit Court on April 22 to felony charges of two counts of first-degree sexual abuse, two counts of conspiracy, and a single count of burglary. He could face up to 35 years in prison when sentenced.
His plea in that matter will enable Morrisey's office and the HRC to proceed with enforcing a consent decree they entered into with Walden several years ago. In the consent decree, Walden admitted to violating the West Virginia Human Rights Act, agreed to stop working as a landlord, and not participate personally in the management of his rental properties.
The AG's office alleges Walden violated terms of the consent agreement multiple times between 2008 and present. Some of the violations alleged in the petition to enforce formed the basis of at least three of the charges to which Walden pleaded guilty If found to have violated the West Virginia Human Rights Act, Walden could be penalized as much as $5,000 per incident.
“The Office of the Attorney General’s Civil Rights Division has asked the court for a hearing date to vigorously pursue this enforcement action,” Morrisey said.