Man sentenced for sexually abusing teen

ELKINS – A Valley Bend man was sentenced Friday to 10 to 20 years in prison for sexually abusing a teenage girl.

Lance Bradley Arbogast, 28, pleaded guilty May 2 to one felony count of sexual abuse by a parent, guardian, custodian or person in a position of trust to a child. The victim was his fiancee’s 13-year-old daughter.

Arbogast appeared in Randolph County Circuit Court Friday with his attorney Megan Allender. His sentencing had been deferred until Friday following the completion of a pre-sentence hearing and victim impact statement.

“These cases are difficult regardless of how deserving the defendant may be,” Senior Status Judge Thomas Steptoe Jr. said. “There is also the consideration of the victim. This is one of the most serious offenses under the penal code of West Virginia. These types of crimes manifest serious injury to the victim, who of course is a child. Children should not have to fear the abuse or exploitation of parents or those who have control of them.”

Allender asked the court to consider supervised release of Arbogast, but Steptoe rejected alternative sentencing.

Following announcement of the sentence, Arbogast was taken into custody and then to Tygart Valley Regional Jail. Steptoe further ordered that if Arbogast is later paroled, he will be subject to 40 years of post-incarceration supervision.

“It is further ordered that he have no contact, directly or indirectly, with the victim or her family members,” Steptoe said.

According to the criminal complaint, Trooper First Class D.R. Wolford with the Elkins detachment of the West Virginia State Police received a walk-in complaint from the victim’s mother in June 2013.

The mother said at about 10:30 p.m. on June 15, 2013, she and her daughter decided to lie down to go to sleep on their sectional couch at their residence in Valley Bend. Arbogast, who lived with the two, reportedly remained awake until he left for work at 2 a.m.

The victim’s mother said she later learned that while she was asleep, Arbogast allegedly touched her daughter in an inappropriate, sexual manner at about midnight. Sometime between midnight and 2 a.m., the victim’s mother woke up and went into her bedroom. Arbogast followed the victim’s mother – then his fiancee – into the bedroom, but later returned to the couch after his fiancee had fallen asleep a second time, the complaint states.

At that point, Arbogast allegedly performed lewd sexual acts on the victim, who “pretended to be asleep in an effort to get (Arbogast) to stop,” Wolford wrote in the report.

Hours later, the victim reportedly texted Arbogast to inform him that if he didn’t tell her mother what had happened, she would. Later, Arbogast called the victim’s mother and told her he needed to tell her something that could potentially end their relationship, police wrote.

“Mr. Arbogast proceeded to tell (the victim’s mother) that he had touched her daughter and it had went too far,” Wolford wrote.

The victim’s mother said Arbogast had lived with her and her daughter since 2009, and also said she and Arbogast were engaged to be married in July 2013.

“(The victim’s mother) indicated Mr. Arbogast treated (the victim) as his daughter” and would discipline her by taking her cellular phone away if the victim made poor grades in school, according to the complaint.

During a forensic interview the victim reportedly referred to Arbogast as her stepdad, but also said he had told her she was “hot,” the complaint stated.