Five months ago, the West Virginia Republican political operative David Welch dropped out of public life. (See David Welch Charlotte Pritt Joe Manchin and the Politics of Civility in West Virginia, Morgan County USA, January 19, 2022)
He took down his Facebook page.
He resigned from the Stubblefield Institute at Shepherd University.
And he quit his job as co-host of the popular local political radio show – Eastern Panhandle Talk on WRNR in Martinsburg.
When you asked people in the know about it, people at the Stubblefield Institute or at WRNR, their faces would go white and they would mumble something like – “can’t talk about it.”
Now we know why.
In February, in an agreement with the Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney, Welch agreed to plead guilty to one count of possession of child erotica, a misdemeanor.
The agreement was first made public when it was posted last night on the Facebook page of former House of Delegates member Michael Folk.
In exchange for agreeing to plead guilty to the misdemeanor offense, the prosecuting attorney agreed to “not pursue additional charges regarding the material that was seized from the defendant’s electronic devices.”
The prosecutor also agreed to recommend a sentence of one year in jail – “suspended for a term of supervised probation, so long as the defendant completes a psycho-sexual evaluation” required under West Virginia law.
The case was assigned to Berkeley County Circuit Court Judge Michael Lorensen yesterday, but a hearing has yet to be scheduled.
Welch lived in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia for years and was a member of the Town of Bath council before moving to Martinsburg.