The top picture, which was previously posted on the social networking group MySpace and reportedly circulated around the Parkersburg-area, shows former Wood County Prosecutor Ginny Conley, right, with nine underage boys from Parkersburg High School, including Conley's son, Nathan, center, with alcohol while on a trip to Mexico in 2007. A judge recently ruled that attorneys for Rozann Wilcox may ask Conley about the pictures during upcoming depositions in Wilcox's pending wrongful termination suit against Conley, but placed limits on the disclosure of information obtained. The bottom picture, shows Conley, center, with three underage boys from Parkersburg High School at a Mexican bar in 2007. It was during this time Conley was prosecuting Parkersburg resident Jeff Corra on charges he provided alcohol to minors. Last year, the state Supreme Court overturned Corra's conviction on the charges citing flaws in both the prosecution's, and defense's handling of the case.
PARKERSBURG - Filings in a wrongful termination suit against a former Wood County prosecutor allege that while pursuing criminal charges against a Parkersburg man for furnishing alcohol to minors, she, too, either furnished alcohol to minors or instructed minors, including her son, on how to avoid being arrested for underage consumption.
In the ongoing wrongful termination lawsuit, records show that attorneys for former Wood County Prosecutor Ginny Conley -- John F. McCuskey and Kimberly M. Bandy -- object to a set of combined discovery requests submitted by attorneys for former Wood County Juvenile Justice Liaison Rozann Wilcox -- Dan Cooper and Jami Cropp.
Wilcox sued Conley in 2008 alleging she was fired for allowing a former rival of Conley's to view an investigation file.
In addition to voicing objections, McCuskey and Bandy on June 1 asked that a protective order be entered on replying to the requests since they were "intended for no purpose other than to annoy, harass, and embarrass" Conley.
Among the requests McCuskey and Bandy found objectionable were questions Cooper and Cropp posed to Conley about whether she'd been in the presence of juveniles while they were consuming alcohol. According to court filings, Cooper and Cropp came into possession of a picture which purportedly shows Conley drinking alcohol with juveniles. Cooper and Cropp ask Conley to "provide the names, addresses and telephone numbers of each of the persons that are pictured in the photographs ..."
Cooper and Cropp also ask Conley to "provide their age at the time the photograph was taken" and "state the date on which the photograph is taken." The picture is not contained in court records.
However, pictures that were previously posted on the social networking group, MySpace, and were reportedly circulated around the Parkersburg-area, have surfaced. They show Conley with teenage boys with alcohol while on a trip to Mexico in 2007. One of the pictures shows Conley at the end of a bar with three boys while another shows Conley at the end of a table with nine boys, including her son, Nathan, who is holding a glass in one hand, and a Corona beer in the other.
Conley is also asked to describe each instance in which she "ever suggested, to Nathan or any of his friends ... ways to avoid law enforcement or ways to prevent person(s) (including parents or law enforcement) from sensing that they had been drinking alcohol (including liquor and/or beer)."
After graduating from PHS, Nathan Conley attended Fork Union Military Academy in Fork Union, Va. Currently, he is a freshman at The Citadel in Charleston, S.C.
Three fingers back
At the time the alleged incidents occurred, Conley was prosecuting Jeff Corra on charges he furnished alcohol to minors during a party at his home on Aug. 6, 2006. After two boys, Joshua Tucker and Matthew Humphreys, died following a single-vehicle accident after the party, Corra was not only indicted on furnishing alcohol charges, but also later on two counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Prior to, and during his trial on the furnishing charges, Corra maintained his innocence. Though he was aware the boys -- along with Courtney McDonough and Morgan Brown -- came to his home that night to visit his daughter, Ashley, he was outside the entire time burning brush.
Corra claimed it was McDonough who furnished the alcohol prior to, and after the youths arrived. He later learned that McDonough snuck a Coors Light beer out of his refrigerator.
A year and a day after the party, Corra was convicted on all four counts of furnishing alcoholic liquors to a minor, and sentenced to pay a $400 fine, and serve 40 days in jail. However, the state Supreme Court in February overturned Corra's conviction citing flaws in the way Wood County Assistant Prosecutor Sean Francisco presented the case, and for how his attorney, George Cosenza, failed to mount a zealous defense.
In an opinion authored by Menis Ketchum, the Court said, "It is apparent that neither the prosecutor nor defense counsel read the statutes relating to the crime of furnishing 'alcoholic liquors' before the jury reached its verdict. The prosecutor mistakenly informed a busy trial judge that beer was the same as alcoholic liquor for the purpose of proving the indictment."
"Likewise," Ketchum continued, "it is not disputed that when the circuit court asked at the charge conference whether he should instruct the jury on the definition of alcoholic liquor, defense counsel stated that an instruction was not necessary because beer was an alcoholic liquor."
Citing the Court's February ruling, Wood County Prosecutor Jason Wharton, who was elected last November after Conley decided not to run for a fourth term, asked that the involuntary manslaughter charges, which were never set for trial, be dismissed. Records show Judge Robert A. Waters granted Wharton's motion on Sept. 3.
In August, Corra filed a legal malpractice suit against Cosenza's law firm.
Motion partly granted, denied
Records show on Dec. 21, Jackson Circuit Court Judge Thomas C. Evans III granted in part, and denied in part McCuskey's and Bandy's motion for a protective order. Evans was appointed to the case by the Court on June 22 after Putnam Circuit Judge Ed Eagloski lost his bid for re-election.
The Court first appointed Eagloski after all three of Wood County's circuit judges recused themselves after the case was filed in February 2008.
In his order, Evans said that Cooper and Cropp may pose the objectionable questions to Conley in upcoming depositions. However, since some of the questions call for disclosure of "protected confidential information," Evans ruled that information shall be marked confidential, and "safeguarded against accidental or inadvertent dissemination."
In addition to questions about her being in the presence of minors when alcohol was served, or instructing minors on avoiding arrest for underage consumption, Evans gave the green light to Cooper and Cropp to query Conley regarding allegations she used a county credit card for her personal benefit.
In her suit, Wilcox alleges Conley fired her in retaliation for allowing Parkersburg attorney Jim Leach, who ran against Conley for prosecutor in 2000, to see an investigation file.
Wilcox's case against Conley is slated for trial on June 8, 2010, and is scheduled to last four days. A hearing is scheduled Feb. 19 on McCuskey's and Bandy's pending motion for summary judgment.
Wood Circuit Court, case number 08-C-185