Kanawha County prosecutor Mark Plants is under investigation for child abuse allegations after his ex-wife filed a complaint with West Virginia State Police. State Police say Plants' ex-wife claimed that he abused one of his children by disciplining him in an excessive manner.
During a press conference Thursday, Feb. 27, Plants said he and his ex-wife, Allison Plants, agreed that spanking their children on occasion was an appropriate form of punishment. He said it was never an issue until he recently remarried.
"For the past ten years, my ex-wife and I have agreed that spanking on occasion is an appropriate form of discipline," said Plants. "I know some people disagree with that, but both my wife and I agreed that it is appropriate at times and we both spank our children."
Plants and his ex-wife have two sons and divorced in 2012. Mark Plants remarried in December, 2013.
Plants called the allegations against him "political mudslinging", because his ex-wife hired Mike Clifford as her attorney. Clifford was the former prosecuting attorney in Kanawha County.
"As a father I am absolutely disgusted that my children are being involved in political mudslinging and politically motivated allegations," said Plants.
Allison Plants' attorney Mike Clifford said a Kanawha Family Court Judge issued an emergency protective order Thursday afternoon. It requires Mark Plants to stay away from his ex-wife and their sons.
Sergeant M.S. Adams, of the West Virginia State Police Crimes Against Children Unit (Wheeling), is investigating the complaint. Lieutenant Michael Baylous said they purposefully brought in a trooper who was removed from the area.
Plants said he is fully cooperating with the investigation.
"I am the elected prosecutor, but my number one most important job is to be a father and to raise respectable, law-abiding children," he said. "If we have more parents who raised their children in a respectable manner, we would likely have less criminals."
Plants is also being investigated for favoritism in the Kanawha County Prosecutor's Office. He has been criticized for unfairly giving his current wife, Sarah Foster, pay raises while she worked as his secretary.
On Feb. 27, Kanawha County Family Judge Mike Kelly granted Allison Plants an emergency domestic violence protective order against Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants ordering Plants to stay away from Allison Plants and their sons, according to Mike Clifford, attorney for Allison Plants.
A child abuse complaint has been filed against Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants.
According to a news release from the West Virginia State Police, Plants' ex-wife filed the complaint stating that Plants disciplined one of his children in an excessive manner.
Plants has not been charged with a crime, and he issued a public statement Feb. 27. It reads as follows:
"For the past 10 years, my ex-wife and I have agreed that spanking on occasion is an appropriate form of discipline. I know some people disagree with that, but both my wife and I agreed that it is appropriate at times and it's appropriate at time and we both spank our children.
"This was not an issue until I recently go remarried and she recently hired Mike Clifford and this is a page right out of Mike Clifford's playbook.
"I don't come to you today as a prosecutor; I come to you today as a father. As a father I am absolutely disgusted that my children are being involved in political mudslinging and politically motivated allegations.
"I have cooperated with investigators, I've spoken with the lead investigator, I've done everything law enforcement has asked me to do. I love my children and they love me. I'm very involved with all of their sports.
"I am the elected prosecutor, but my number one most important job is to be a father and to raise respectable, law-abiding children. If we have more parents who raise their children in a respectable manner, we would likely have less criminals."