School Officials Accused of Covering Up Sex Assaults Appear to Have Resigned or Been Removed


It appears that two of the West Virginia middle school officials accused of covering up multiple sexual assaults of students have resigned or been removed.

A job posting on the Mingo County Board of Education website lists two available positions at Burch Middle School, which is at the center of explosive allegations that school officials conspired to cover up allegations of sexual assault of minors on school grounds and on school buses in order to protect the perpetrators, who were allegedly related to officials at the board of education.

The positions advertised are “Principal” and “Teacher/Health & PE,” and appear on a bulletin dated May 1, 2014.

Melissa Webb was the principal of Burch Middle School, and Melvin Cunningham was a teacher and athletic coach, according to the civil rights injunction filed yesterday. As RH Reality Check reported Thursday, both were named as defendants for their alleged roles in covering up incidents in which two male students repeatedly trapped their victims in school buses or classrooms and assaulted them, including penetration.

The allegations came to light Thursday, though the West Virginia attorney general’s office has been investigating the case since at least April, when investigators noted that school officials had most recently attempted to retaliate against the victims for their cooperation with the investigation.

A third named defendant—school guidance counselor Hester Keatley—is running for a seat on the education board in Tuesday’s primary elections.

RH Reality Check’s call to the Mingo County Board of Education was not immediately returned.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

To schedule an interview with contact director of communications Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

Follow Sharona Coutts on twitter: @sharonacoutts