No bond change in abuse case

Randolph County Magistrate George Riggleman refused to reduce the $50,000 cash-only bond of a Valley Head man facing a variety of sexual charges Wednesday.

The magistrate sent the case on for future grand jury consideration after Lance Bradley Arbogast, 28, waived his right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday.

Arbogast is being held in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail after being charged last week with sexual abuse by a parent, guardian, custodian or person in a position of trust to a child, and with third-degree sexual assault.

The charges stem from allegations that Arbogast forced his fiancee’s teenage daughter to engage in lewd acts earlier in June, according to the complaint filed in Randolph County Magistrate Court.

Defense attorney Megan Alexander argued Wednesday that the bond should not be a means of punishing a person, adding that the $50,000 amount could not be paid by Arbogast or his family. She said Arbogast was a longtime resident of the county, and that he had fully cooperated with investigators after the allegations arose.

Alexander argued that Arbogast has been and would continue to be a contributing member of society. She said he would be living alone in a trailer owned by his father and would not be anywhere near children younger than the age of 18, as would be required if he were able to post bond. She requested the bond amount be reduced to a $10,000 cash or surety bond.

Randolph County Assistant Prosecutor Lori Gray strongly objected to any reduction of the bond amount, saying the charges imply that Arbogast is a predator. She argued that a bond also is meant to protect the community.

“There is a history of violence,” Gray said. “The (victim’s) family is fearful of what the defendant is capable of doing.”

Alexander countered that there is “nothing of record to show a history of violence.” She argued that Arbogast has a strong support system from his family and would not be a danger to himself or to society.

“This is not somebody we are turning loose and hoping for the best,” she said.

Riggleman, however, admitted he was concerned about Arbogast’s state of mind after viewing his initial appearance in court following his arrest by the West Virginia State Police. He urged Arbogast to seek counseling while awaiting further court proceedings.