Hurricane Councilman Resigns After He Is Arrested
By Mark Hallburn
First, PutnamLIVE.com repeatedly City of Hurricane had more sex offenders living in town than any other Putnam County community. Then the city passed an ordinance banning sex offenders from its parks and other areas where children congregate. Now, in a shocking development, one of Hurricane's City Council members may be affected by the law after he was busted for soliciting a minor.reported that the
Scott Allen Cunningham, 31, was arrested June 27th, 2012, by the West Virginia State Police.
According to court records, Cunningham is charged with two felonies.
Cunningham allegedly had sexually explicit text-message conversations with a 13-year-old girl, acording to a criminal complaint filed in Putnam County Magistrate Court. Police say she was not a stranger. Rather, she was a neighbor of Cunningham at near his former home along Victorian Place.
PutnamLIVE.com does not publish the names of alleged victims of sex crimes.
In early June, 2012, the girl's father consented to allow the West Virginia State Police digital forensics laboratory to examine her cell phone. Police say they discovered sexually explicit texts from Cunningham. Those texts alleged requested that the girl photograph herself in the nude, in messages dated May 11th and 12th, 2012.
Hours after his arrest, Cunningham's political career came crashing down. He resigned at about 3:00 p.m., according to Hurricane Mayor Scott D. Edwards, the father of two daughters who is reportedly outraged at Cunningham.
Edwards says the city will stay out of the investigation and prosecution and is glad that the state police, an outside agency, is in charge. This protects the city from being accused of handling the case improperly.
After his arrest, Cunningham was transported to the Western Regional Jail and Correctional Facility, in Barboursville. Officials booked and photographed him at 11:50 a.m., according to the jail's web site.
During a hearing, Cunningham's bond was set, at $15,000, by a Putnam County Magistrate, court records state. He quickly posted that bond and was released from custody. A court hearing will be held for Cunningham at a later date.
Cunningham was elected as councilman, in 2011, as a member of Edwards' Citizens Party. The city council will appoint his replacement at a later date. Anyone interested in serving the remainder of Cunningham's term should contact Edwards at SEdwards@HurricaneWV.com or telephone Hurricane City Hall at 304-562-5896.
This is the second Hurricane city official to be charged with a sex crime Harold Dewane Wooten, the former water clerk, was convicted of taking photos of a topless teenager at his mobile home, in Cabell County. Now a resident of Fraziers Bottom, Wooten is required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.involving a minor girl and photography.
Publisher’s note: All defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.
A criminal complaint is a legal document that is usually filled out by a law enforcement officer presenting evidence to a judge or magistrate. The judicial official determines if the officer has provided enough evidence to issue a complaint or a warrant for a suspect arrest.
Cunningham's mug shot is provided courtesy of the West Virginia Regional Jail Authority. Wooten's mug shot is provided courtesy of the West Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry.
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