Charges coming soon in situation that involves Greenbrier West wrestling team

A county prosecutor called allegations involving members of the Greenbrier West High School wrestling team very serious.

The victims in the situation were members of the wrestling team as are the suspects, said Raleigh County Prosecutor Ben Hatfield, speaking Friday on MetroNews’ “Talkline.”

An investigation began after the Greenbrier West school resource officer reported the incident to Raleigh County authorities. The wrestling team was in Beckley for a meet when the alleged incident occurred.

“This goes well beyond horseplay, well beyond pranks and hazing and things like that nature. This is a very serious incident. It will leave a very lasting impact on the victims and lasting consequences on the two young men who are the perpetrators,” Hatfield said. “It’s inexcusable conduct.”

He later said, “It was sexual in nature, I can indicate that.”

Hatfield said he could provide few specifics because those involved are minors. Hatfield said his office was still reviewing juvenile petitions Friday.

Hatfield anticipated moving ahead with those juvenile petitions representing charges as soon as Friday or Monday, but he wasn’t yet certain what specifically the charges would be. He described the actions as
“felonious.”

“The court process looks a little bit the same, but it’s done in a very private fashion to protect juvenile identities and things of that nature,” Hatfield said.

The Greenbrier West team finished runner-up in this year’s state wrestling tournament earlier this month in Huntington. The Cavaliers have won four state titles in wrestling — 2013, 2019, 2020 and 2023.

The Greenbrier County school system put out a statement describing limits on what can be said publicly about students. “Administration assures that the Greenbrier County Board of Education has acted swiftly and appropriately and in compliance with all legal mandates related to the wrestling incident.”

Hatfield described the need for societal changes.

“We have to teach our teenage children that what they do has very immediate and serious impacts, but it also has a long-lasting severe impact on their future. We don’t get to do things even as teenagers and think the consequences will be “We have to teach our teenage children that what they do has very immediate and serious impacts, but it also has a long-lasting severe impact on their future. We don’t get to do things even as teenagers and think the consequences will be de minimis (minimal),” he said. “The consequences of severe action will be severe.,” he said. “The consequences of severe action will be severe.

“And for some reason this generation of teenagers, as a whole have, lost the ability to regulate themselves with regard to the seriousness of conduct when they conduct criminal acts. I’m not saying all teenagers in general, but those that engage in criminal acts. It seems as if they lack the impulse control necessary to regulate their behavior in conformity with the law.”

He said parents need to be alert to what their children are up to.

“Sometimes we’re put in on it too late — too late to act to prevent our children from suffering harm and too late to prevent them from inflicting harm on others.”