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Two Greenbrier West wrestlers facing juvenile felony charges

Mar. 21—Two male juveniles from the Greenbrier West High School wrestling team are facing felony charges in connection with an alleged incident that occurred in February while the team was in Raleigh County for a wrestling tournament. Raleigh County Prosecuting Attorney Ben Hatfield said he's been informed by the investigating detective with the Raleigh County Sheriff's Office that they are in the process of filing juvenile petitions for two juveniles.

Hatfield said the charges being pursued are felonies.

Raleigh County Sheriff J.C. Canaday said all juveniles involved in the incident are males.

Per state code, records of juvenile proceedings are not public unless disclosure is otherwise authorized by law, which is why Canaday and Hatfield said they were unable to provide specifics regarding the alleged incident and the nature of the charges.

However, Canaday did say that the allegations are "serious."

The potential charges stem from an alleged incident that occurred in February while members of the Greenbrier West High School wrestling team were staying at a hotel in Raleigh County after competing in a wrestling tournament.

The exact dates of the incident have not been released, but Greenbrier West High School did compete in two separate tournaments in Raleigh County in February — the Coalfield Conference Tournament on Feb. 10 at Liberty High School and the Class AA/A Region 3 championship on Feb. 17 at Independence High School.

Canaday said his office was notified of the alleged incident shortly after it occurred by a school resource officer with Greenbrier West.

As of Thursday morning, Canaday said the juvenile petitions related to this incident have not been filed, although his officers are reviewing them with the prosecuting attorney's office.

Unlike adult cases, which can be initiated by a criminal complaint, juvenile cases are typically initiated by the filing of a juvenile petition alleging a status or delinquency offense, according to information available on the West Virginia Judiciary website.

Should a juvenile petition be filed, Canaday said his office will notify the juveniles of the charges and a court date.

Canaday said the investigation remains ongoing.

"We're at the point in the investigation where we believe it's appropriate to file charges, but that doesn't mean the investigation stops," Canaday said. "... There may be other things that need answered, but should not have any impact on the charging decision."

Allegations involving Greenbrier West's wrestling team, which were initially reported by WVNS on March 1, were brought back to light following a separate incident at the school involving racist comments made to a Black freshman.

The racist and demeaning comments, which targeted a 14-year-old Black female at Greenbrier West, were written on a classroom wall at the school.

Those comments included multiple variations of the n-word as well as accusations of a sexual nature.

Greenbrier County Schools Superintendent Jeffrey Bryant told The Register-Herald on Tuesday that the students responsible for the graffiti would "suffer consequences to the full extent of the law."

The next day, the Greenbrier County School Board met in a special session where it approved the retirement of Bryant, effective March 29, and the resignation of West Principal Adam Young, effective June 30.

Email: jmoore@register-herald.com