Upshur magistrate in trouble

By John O'Brien | May 9, 2006

CHARLESTON - An Upshur County magistrate is facing judicial ethics charges because and has been suspended because of allegations that he engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with a domestic abuse victim.

Clarence McCourt Jr., is said to have ordered a woman to remove her clothing so he could see her bruises and suggested it would help her case.

The formal charges were filed April 18 with the West Virginia Judicial Hearing board.

It is alleged that on March 26, a domestic violence proceeding was held before McCourt at 4 a.m. As a result of the hearing, the woman's husband was incarcerated.

After the hearing, McCourt allegedly asked the woman where she was staying. At 6 a.m., the charges say he called that motel and asked if he could come over to see the bruishes she had received.

McCourt allegedly told the woman how pretty she was, asked to see her bruises and suggested it might help her case.

When the woman couldn't pull her pants up high enough to show him bruises on her leg, McCourt allegedly had her pull her pants down and asked if there were any bruises on the inside of her thighs. The formal charges also state that he asked her to turn around while her pants were down.

It is also alleged that McCourt asked to see bruises on her chest, touched the woman's breast before going into the bathroom for a few minutes and informed her to keep the meeting a secret.

McCourt was suspended without pay April 12. An appeal of the suspension will be heard June 6.

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