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April 22, 2014

'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

BLUEFIELD, W. Va. — Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

The Bluefield Daily Telegraph reports James “Jim” Irvin, 57, of Bluefield, was arraigned Monday on five counts of sexual assault and 10 counts of sexual abuse involving juveniles. The charges stem from alleged incidents involving children aged 3, 9 and 13 at the time.

An investigation which began in early April revealed that Irwin was practicing paganism and wicca, a more modern religion of witchcraft. According to K.L. Adams, a detective with the Bluefield Police Department, Irwin allegedly used his religion to befriend the children and ultimately sexually abuse them.

Adams said Irvin allegedly told two of the children — who were living with him at the time — that he would perform magical acts on their mother, who was ill, if they would participate in the sexual acts. He said Irvin’s son was the children’s stepfather.

The investigation was prompted by a complaint from Child Protect of Mercer County, a children’s advocacy center which conducted forensic interviews with two of the alleged victims in February 2013. Adams said a report from Child Protect showed the abuse occurred in Bluefield in January 2007. At the time, the alleged victims were ages 3 and 9.

An interview with one of the girls alleged that the children’s mother, who has not been charged and is cooperating with police in the investigation, believed Irvin was a “magical warlock” as part of his practicing wiccan religion. The report alleged the mother told the girl she had to go upstairs and do something with Irvin involving magic to keep her well.

The report also said that, according to the children’s mother, Irvin believed in magic and claimed the “sex tantric magic” was the most powerful of all. However, the woman said Irvin alleged this type of magic would not work unless the acts were performed on a virgin.

During a hearing this week, Mercer County Magistrate Susan Honaker told Irvin that, if convicted, he would face a sentence of 15 to 35 years in prison on each sexual assault charge and five to 25 years in prison on each sexual abuse charge.

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The seventh annual Wine, Cheese and Art Festival will take place next Friday on Main Street. The event will feature eight wineries. many vendors, and live entertainment. Hours for the festival are 5 p.m. until 10 p.m.

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