CHARLESTON – A former Wayne County assistant prosecutor is accused of soliciting sexual favors from a woman while handling her abuse and neglect case.
The Office of Disciplinary Counsel on Jan. 17 filed a single count statement of charges against Charles C. Amos. In the statement, ODC, the arm of the state Supreme Court that investigates attorney misconduct, alleges Amos, 57 and a Huntington resident, engaged in “an egregious abuse of his position” when he became too personal with a woman while having a say in the custody of her child.
A statement of charges acts like and indictment for disciplinary purposes.
According to the statement, Amos, along with some friends, on June 23, 2011, visited the Pig & Whistle in Huntington. Sometime after they arrived, a woman whose abuse and neglect case Amos was handling approached their table and “had drinks together,” it says.
The woman is identified in the statement only as “Ms. C.” At the time, she was represented by Huntington attorney Derek W. Marsteller, who was administratively suspended in March for unspecified health reasons.
According to the statement, Ms. C. and Amos “discussed her abuse and neglect proceedings,” and later went to another bar. Though the statement says Amos requested to see Ms. C’s apartment and her children's bedrooms, it is unclear if he did.
Following the encounter at the bar, Amos said he had no further personally contact with Ms. C. However, he admitted exchanging text message with her, “some of which related to the abuse and neglect proceedings.”
According to the statement, Ms. C confided in her social worker, Christy Wright, that Amos "kissed her and promised that she would regain custody of her children in exchange for sexual favors.” Ms. C. told Wayne County Prosecutor Thomas Plymale that while they were together in the Pig & Whistle, Amos “rubbed her thighs and made the statement ‘If you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.’”
Prior to leaving the Pig & Whistle for a bar that featured female nude dancers, Ms. C. said he “kissed her on the cheek twice.” After arriving at the topless bar, Ms. C. claimed Amos again began rubbing her thighs and made not-so-subtle hints about having sex.
According to the statement, Amos requested to have sex with Ms. C. after he took her home, but she declined.
After speaking with Ms. C., Marsteller, Wright, Eric Dotson, the interim manager of the Wayne County Department of Health and Human Resources, and Judge Darrell Pratt, Plymale, the statement says, on June 28 placed Amos on paid suspension pending further investigation. The next day, he asked Amos to tender his resignation and report the incident to ODC.
The statement alleges Amos committed five violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct including those dealing with conflict of interest, and misconduct.
According the Wayne County Clerk’s Office, Amos began working as an assistant prosecutor on Sept. 1, 1993, with a salary of $18,300. The day he resigned on June 30, 2011, his salary was $35,088.
An evidentiary hearing on the statement will be held May 6 at ODC’s office on the 12th floor of the City Center East building in Kanawha City before a three-member panel of the Court’s Lawyer Disciplinary Board.
According to the state Bar’s Web site, Amos began practicing law on Oct. 12, 1982. Currently, he is a partner in the Huntington law firm of Barrett, Chafin, Lowry & Amos.
West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals case number 13-0065