WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — Teenagers were potentially videotaped at the West Virginia State Police Academy. The agency now faces another possible lawsuit on behalf of three female minors who trained there as junior troopers.
Wheeling-based attorney Teresa Toriseva said her clients attended the Junior Trooper Academy, which was only open to students between the ages of 14 and 17.
Toriseva explained these three minors were there at the same time a hidden camera was said to be in the women’s locker room.
“It’s a sad day for West Virginia when you think that not only has the stop police agency in the state admitted to destroying evidence, but now this videoing might have been of children,” Toriseva said.
State police officials have already admitted evidence from the camera was destroyed.
“We don’t think it’s possible that only one person did this or knew about it and so we’re not just investigating the cameras, but the coverup and the destruction of evidence,” Toriseva said. “We do believe that there will still be substantial evidence, but it’ll become clearer as we move forward.”
Toriseva said her clients are demanding a full, fair and independent investigation into the issue, not one that is done internally.
They want to know they weren’t taped.
“They want to know definitively that they weren’t taped,” Toriseva said. “Their parents want to know that they didn’t send their daughters to the State Police Academy with hopes of maybe being a trooper or being some type of policewoman when they grow up and that they were taped.”
Officials with the state police responded to the new allegations. Major Jim Mitchell released the following statement:
We are in receipt of the notice of intent to file suit. We have held the Junior Trooper Academy in years past. At the Governor’s direction the Superintendent initiated an investigation into this matter regarding the video incident
The Junior Trooper Academy is no longer a program within the West Virginia State Police. It stopped in 2020.
A separate notice of intent to sue was also filed against the West Virginia State Police a few weeks ago on behalf of a group of female law enforcement officers who trained at the Academy.
“We’re not going away,” Toriseva said. “My clients would be thrilled to find out they don’t have a civil litigation case because it can be definitively proven that they weren’t taped, but that’s going to be the standard or we’re going to keep coming for answers, proof, evidence and we’re going to expose whatever did happen.”
This new intent to sue on behalf of the three minors is related to the same alleged person who placed the camera in the locker room that possibly captured those law enforcement officers. That person is now deceased.
They too want to know if they were taped while using the women’s locker room.