POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — A Middleport, Ohio, man who was originally charged with third-degree sexual assault and use of a minor in filming sexually explicit conduct, has entered into a plea agreement.
Colton S. Sparks, 21, appeared in Mason County Circuit Court before Judge David W. Nibert last week and entered a plea of guilty to the felony offense of use of minors in filming sexually explicit conduct, as contained in count one of the indictment against him.
Sparks was indicted in May 2015 by a grand jury in Mason County for use of minors in filming sexually explicit conduct and 14 counts of sexual assault in the third degree. In exchange for Sparks’ plea of guilty on count one, the state moved to dismiss the remaining counts upon approval of the plea agreement.
According to the official criminal complaint filed in Mason County Magistrate Court, in January 2015 personnel with the Middleport Police Department contacted personnel with the Mason County Sheriff’s Department saying they had a male in custody who allegedly admitted to having sex and sexual relations with a female who was 15 years old. The female allegedly stated to personnel with the Mason County Sheriff’s Department that she and Sparks had sex 15 times at the strip mines, located in Clifton, according to the compliant. The two met a year prior and the female allegedly stated the first time the two had sex was when she was 14, according to the complaint.
The complaint also alleges Sparks took photographs of the victim that were sexually explicit, also in the area of the strip mines. At this time, Sparks was reportedly 20 years old, according to the complaint.
In West Virginia, third-degree sexual assault is defined as when the person engages in sexual intercourse or sexual intrusion with another person who is mentally defective or mentally incapacitated; or the person, being 16 years old or older, engages in sexual intercourse or sexual intrusion with another person who is less than 16 years old and who is at least four years younger than the defendant and is not married to the defendant.
According to Sparks’ plea agreement, in the West Virginia Code, a conviction of use of minors in filming sexually explicit conduct, allows for a sentence of a fine of no more than $10,000, or jail time no more than 10 years, or both.
Both a plea agreement and conviction order have been filed in the office of Mason County Circuit Court Clerk Bill Withers. There had been no sentencing order filed as of Wednesday afternoon and Sparks is to reappear before Judge Nibert on May 16.
Sparks was represented by Attorney Michael Eachus while the state was represented by Assistant Prosecutor R. F. Stein Jr.
Reach Beth Sergent at email@example.com or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.