Nov. 8—UNION — The case of a Monroe County deputy charged with multiple felonies including using minors in filming sexually explicit conduct and the distribution and display of obscene matter to a minor was forwarded Wednesday to a grand jury.
Evan Paul Blankenship, a deputy with the Monroe County Sheriff's Department, was arrested Oct. 26 after an investigation by the West Virginia State Police. The case began April 1 when Sgt. S. S. Keaton with the state police initiated an investigation into Blankenship for allegedly soliciting nude photographs from a minor.
During the investigation, Keaton seized evidence that was examined by the West Virginia State Police Digital Forensic Laboratory. Multiple photographs of underage females (14-17 years old) in a nude or partially nude manner were recovered from the evidence, according to a statement from Capt. R.A. Maddy, deputy chief of staff for the West Virginia State Police.
Keaton later spoke with Special Prosecutor Brian Cochran, who is the Mercer County Prosecuting Attorney, about his findings. Cochran instructed Sgt. Keaton to charge Blankenship with offenses including: three counts of using minors in filming sexually explicit conduct; four counts of distribution and display of obscene matter to a minor; three counts of possession of child erotica; and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
A preliminary hearing was conducted Wednesday in Monroe County Magistrate Court. The case was bound over to the county's grand jury, Cochran said.
Blankenship is currently free on bond.
Contact Greg Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org