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West Virginia Child Molestation Laws

Sex Offender Registry

West Virginia Sex Offender Search

Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect

West Virginia Ann. Code § 49-6A-2 sets forth a list of professionals who are required to report suspected child abuse and neglect (including sexual abuse) to authorities. The list includes medical, dental, and mental health care providers; religious healers; teachers and school personnel; social service, child care, and foster care workers; emergency medical services personnel; peace officers; law enforcement officials; members of the clergy; youth camp employees; athletic coaches; and commercial film and photo processors.

In addition, any person over age 18 who receives a disclosure from a credible witness or observes any sexual abuse or sexual assault of a child shall immediately, and no more than 48 hours after receiving such a disclosure or observing the sexual abuse or sexual assault, report the circumstances or cause a report to be made to the Department of Health and Human
Resources or the State Police or other law enforcement agency having jurisdiction to investigate the report.

Any person who has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is abused or neglected may also report.

Reports must be made within 48 hours. Failure to report may result in a misdemeanor or other penalties.

Sexual Abuse and Exploitation

West Virginia Ann. Code § 49-1-3 provides that ‘sexual abuse’ means:

  • Engaging in, attempting to engage in, or knowingly procuring another person to engage in sexual intercourse, sexual intrusion, or sexual contact with a child younger than age 16, notwithstanding the fact that the child may have willingly participated in such conduct or the fact that the child may have suffered no apparent physical injury or mental or emotional injury as a result of such conduct
  • Engaging in, attempting to engage in, or knowingly procuring another person to engage in sexual intercourse, sexual intrusion, or sexual contact with an child age 16 or older, notwithstanding the fact that the child may have consented to such conduct or the fact that the child may have suffered no apparent physical injury or mental or emotional injury as a result of such conduct
  • Any conduct whereby a parent, guardian, or custodian displays his or her sex organs to a child or procures another person to display his or her sex organs to a child for the purpose of gratifying the sexual desire of the parent, guardian, or custodian, of the person making such display, or of the child, or for the purpose of affronting or alarming the child

‘Sexual exploitation’ means an act whereby a parent, guardian, or custodian:

  • Whether for financial gain or not, persuades, induces, entices, or coerces a child to engage in sexually explicit conduct
  • Persuades, induces, entices, or coerces a child to display his or her sex organs for the sexual gratification of the parent, guardian, custodian, or a third person, or to display his or her sex organs under circumstances in which the parent, guardian, or custodian knows such display is likely to be observed by others who would be affronted or alarmed

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