police lights

PETERSBURG, W.Va. — The principal of Petersburg High School has been charged with two misdemeanor counts of failing to report after she allegedly did not notify law enforcement of a female student’s allegation of a sexual assault by a Petersburg High social studies teacher, according to court documents filed in the Grant County Magistrate’s Office.

Paula Jo Weese was formally charged Sept. 24 and released on a personal recognizance bond during arraignment in magistrate court.

Jonathan McNemar, the teacher involved in the matter, was arrested and charged Aug. 10 following investigation by the Grant County Sheriff’s Office. The charges include felony offenses of sexual abuse and sexual abuse by a guardian.

McNemar remained jailed Friday at the Potomac Highlands Regional Jail in Augusta in lieu of $115,000 bond. After the arrest, he resigned as a social studies instructor at Petersburg High School where he had held that position for three years.

A court clerk said no further court dates have been scheduled for Weese, pending retaining of an attorney.

Upon conviction, the offense of failure to report carries a maximum jail sentence of 90 days and fine of up to $5,000, or both, according to the magistrate’s office.

Court documents state Weese failed to report information about the 2018 allegation, which occurred when Weese was the vice principal and the girl was an 11th grader.

Weese reportedly told police documentation of the allegation that she made was subsequently destroyed when she became principal of the school and moved offices, according to court records.

Since the arrest, a second victim has been identified who alleged she was assaulted by McNemar multiple times in the classroom during her junior year at school. The victim told police she informed Weese on March 12, 2020, of the allegation and that Weese, the school principal, said she would “look into it,” according to court documents. Weese reportedly told police she did not report that allegation to law enforcement.

The investigation that led to the arrest of McNemar and Weese is continuing, according to Sgt. Kurt Thorne of the Grant County Sheriff’s Office. 

Thorne also said Friday charges are pending pertaining to the second victim, of whom police became aware following McNemar’s arrest.

React to this story: