Area man pleads not guilty to sex assault


is free on bond

PHILIPPI – A Belington man accused of having sexual intercourse with a mentally disabled woman was among four individuals who were arraigned in Barbour County Circuit Court Monday.

Christopher Lynn Cunningham, 36, pleaded not guilty to one felony count of sexual assault, third-degree. He is free on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond.

The alleged victim is a 33-year-old woman who lives in the same residence as Cunningham. Circuit Court Judge Alan Moats ordered that an investigation be conducted by Adult Protective Services regarding why the Department of Health and Human Resource has not removed her from care at the residence since being notified of Cunningham’s charges.

Moats also ordered that Cunningham have no contact with the alleged victim or anyone under the age of 18.

According to the original complaint, the alleged victim reported to her day report caretaker that she had sex with Cunningham. He at first denied her allegations, but gave a recorded confession on Jan. 22 in which he allegedly admitted to having sex with the alleged victim in his home on Oct. 8, the complaint states. Cunningham’s wife and other family members were in the residence when the alleged sexual activity took place, according to the complaint.

Also in Barbour County Circuit Court Monday:

Michael Shane White, 33, of Elkins, pleaded not guilty to one felony count of uttering counterfeit currency and one misdemeanor count of obtaining goods by false pretenses.

White said he spent seven years in prison for a previous forgery conviction from 2005-2013. Moats set a $5,000 personal recognizance bond for White.

Jason Wayne Mongold, 36, of Belington, pleaded not guilty to one count of driving while under the influence, third or subsequent offense. He was placed under the supervision of the Barbour County Community Corrections program and is not allowed to drive, drink alcohol or use drugs.

Christopher William Russell, 29, of Belington, pleaded not guilty to one felony count of failure to register or provide notice of registration changes to the child abuse and neglect registry, second offense. Moats set a $5,000 personal recognizance bond for Russell.

A total of 12 people were indicted during the February term of the Barbour County Grand Jury, but the original arraignment day scheduled for March 3 was postponed due to inclement weather.

The rescheduled arraignments were divided up among three different dates. The final set of arraignments will take place at 9 a.m. March 26.