Elderly Man arrested for sexual abuse


BUCKHANNON — An elderly local man was arrested Monday afternoon for intentionally and unlawfully subjecting a 15-year-old girl to sexual contact. According to court documents, Robert Elbie Harper, age 75, was charged with six counts of sexual abuse by parent, guardian or custodian, along with six counts of sexual abuse in the first degree.  

As stated in the criminal complaint, the most recent occurrences of the accused’s offenses were allegedly committed on January 2, 2020 in the Buckhannon-Upshur High School parking lot and earlier that same day at his residence of 153 Catawba Street in Buckhannon. Harper also stands accused of four other separate occurrences of sexual abuse that reportedly began when the victim was in Kindergarten.

Harper was booked Monday evening at the Tygart Valley Regional Jail where he remains. If found guilty, possible penalties may include imprisonment in a correctional facility for not less than 10 years, nor more than 20 years, or fined not less than $500, nor more than $5,000 and imprisoned in a correctional facility not less than 10 years, nor more than 20 years for each of the six counts of sexual abuse by parent, guardian or custodian. Harper also faces additional terms of imprisonment in a state correctional facility for not less than one year, nor more than five years, or fined not more than $10,000 and imprisonment in a state correctional facility for not less than one year, nor more than five years, for each of the six counts of sexual abuse in the first degree if convicted. Magistrate Kay Hurst set bond in the total amount of $250,144.

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