The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

November 1, 2013

Fayette man charged with sex crimes

— New testimony has uncovered an alleged past for a Fayette County man.  

Brian Daniel Hawver, 39, of Victor, was arrested Tuesday on 35 felony counts of sex crimes: 17 counts of sexual abuse by parent, guardian or custodian, 17 counts of third-degree sexual assault and one count of soliciting a minor via computer in connection to a complaint filed in 2004.

The contents of the complaint alleged that Hawver had been in a sexual relationship with an unnamed 14-year-old minor while she was under his “care, custody or control.” Hawver was 29 at the time.

Hawver was also indicted in 2012 as part of a separate complaint alleging he had sexually molested the daughter of his girlfriend on multiple occasions between January 2005 and August 2011. Those felony offenses were 10 counts of sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or custodian and 10 counts of first-degree sexual abuse.

In 2004, the case regarding Hawver and the unnamed minor was investigated by the West Virginia State Police, but at the time, the minor denied any improper sexual relationship with Hawver, the complaint said. When Hawver was interrogated, he said the minor had discussed things of a sexual nature with him, but he said he just listened and never made sexual remarks in return. He denied being in any sort of sexual relationship with the minor, admitted to knowing her age and said he only considered her to be a friend, the complaint said. Based on the lack of disclosure by both parties, the investigation was closed.

The 2012 complaint has reopened the 2004 case due to the implementation of Rule 404b of the rules of Criminal Procedure.

“In preparing for a trial in connection with the allegations against Hawver, Assistant Fayette County Prosecuting Attorney Brian Parsons filed a motion to permit the use of evidence under Rule 404b of the rules of Criminal Procedure,” stated the complaint. Under this motion, the prosecution can introduce evidence that the defendant has engaged in prior criminal conduct of a similar nature, revealing a “lustful disposition to pre-pubescent females ... which spans a time period of more than ten years with multiple female victims/partners.”  

In support of the motion to permit the use of Rule 404b, a hearing was held Oct. 16 in the Circuit Court of Fayette County. The unnamed minor involved in the 2004 case, now in her 20s with children of her own, testified against Hawver, stating that she had in fact had sexual relations with Hawver beginning in the summer of 2003 and continuing in the summer of 2004, after Hawver pursued her through the Internet. During the summer of 2014, while the witness was living with her mother in Ansted, the witness said that Hawver would come to her residence in a pickup truck owned by the Ansted Fire Department, where Hawver currently worked as a volunteer firefighter.

She stated that she had denied that anything had happened between her and Hawver to the West Virginia State Police in 2004 because she was 15 years old at the time and believed that the relationship was romantic and that Hawver loved her. She said she was now motivated to testify because “no child should be afraid.”

Following the hearing, the court ruled that the testimony was “compelling” and that it had occurred recently enough and was similar enough in nature to the current charges pending against Hawver to be relevant in the case. The court ordered that the unnamed witness would be permitted to offer testimony in the pending case against Hawver.

Hawver was remanded to Southern Regional Jail on a $250,000 bond.

— E-mail: bunderwood@register-herald.com

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