Morgantown man takes plea deal on sexual abuse charges

A former resident of the South Park area of Morgantown now awaits sentencing after entering into a plea agreement with Monongalia County Prosecuting Attorneys on March 27. 

According to court records, Austin Fought Rempel, 34, pleaded no-contest to three counts including two separate counts of sexual abuse in the first degree — one of which was a lesser charge than the indictment — and no-contest to a sexually motivated battery charge.  

No-contest, or nolo contendere, means Rempel accepts the conviction but avoids a factual admission of guilt. According to the West Virginia Judiciary definition, a no-contest plea in a criminal case has a similar effect as pleading guilty. 

Some of the accusations against Rempel date back several years — as far back as the previously mentioned battery charge which occurred in November 2009, as well as a sexual assault in July 2016, and sexual abuse in November 2020. 

In July 2022, a capias warrant was issued for his arrest after he failed to appear in court. He was located a few weeks later in Parkersburg and was taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Service at that time. 

Outside of the three counts on which he is now convicted, prosecutors agreed to not pursue further criminal charges against Rempel for sexual offenses he allegedly committed against three additional victims.  

Six of Rempel’s known victims will still be granted the opportunity to give sentencing recommendations and victim impact statements prior to his sentencing. 

As part of the deal, prosecutors also agreed to dismiss one count of non-consensual disclosure/threat of disclosure of private images from February 2022. 

According to the plea agreement, the state will recommend Rempel be sentenced to one-to-five years in the West Virginia State Penitentiary for each count of sexual abuse convictions and one year in North Central Regional Jail for the sexually motivated battery. 

He will also be subject to lifetime sex-offender registration requirements. 

Rempel is currently being held at North Central Regional Jail while awaiting a sentencing hearing scheduled for July 1. 

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