Cumberland Times-News

November 14, 2013

Delray man pleads guilty to 8 counts of sexual abuse to minor

MARLA PISCIOTTA
Cumberland Times-News

— ROMNEY, W.Va. — Harry F. Wright Jr., 68, of Delray pleaded guilty to eight counts of sexual abuse to a minor in the first degree in Hampshire County Circuit Court on Thursday.

Due to the plea agreement between Dan James, Hampshire County prosecuting attorney, and Wright’s appointed attorney, Lawrence Sherman, six additional charges of sexual assault that would have carried larger sentences were dismissed with prejudice. All charges were felonies.

Judge Charles Carl asked Wright to explain in detail what he did to the girl.

James said there were two parts to the sexual abuse, one was the touching and the second was the sexual gratification of one person.

Wright told the court he was trying to teach the girl how it would be when she got older. “I like teaching her, it made me feel better,” Wright said.  

Wright did acknowledge that he did it for his sexual pleasure.

Carl asked Wright if he understood the charges against him and the potential time he may be spending in jail.

Wright answered, “Yes.”

For each offense, Wright could serve not less than 25 years or more than 125 years in jail and be fined from $1,000 to $5,000.

Carl took a great deal of time explaining each and every detail of the case and the paperwork involved to Wright due to his educational background.

Wright told Carl he finished fourth grade and part of the fifth.

James explained to the court he was prepared to go to trial with all 14 counts against Wright.

“We had a strong case. We met with the victim’s family and they felt it was in the best interest of the child victim not to put her through a trial,” James said.

 Wright has been in Potomac Highlands Regional Jail since March.

A Wright family member told the Times-News Thursday that the family was having a difficult time.

“Two of us are in therapy. Most of the family has disowned him,” the member said.

“Since this all came about I have had other people tell me about him doing the same thing to them. He uses his fourth-grade education as an excuse.”

The family member said Wright does know right from wrong regardless of his educational background.

Carl told Wright that it is necessary for him to be registered as a sex offender for the rest of his life, and he would have to advise authorities of that regardless of where he lives.

The case was investigated by Hampshire County Sheriff Capt. John Eckerson and Deputy 1st Class Mechelle Sabin along with the Child Protective Services. The offenses occurred in a private residence.

Sentencing will be in circuit court following a complete diagnostic and mental condition of Wright, which is expected early next year.

Contact Marla Pisciotta at marlapisciotta@frontier.com.