By Lyra Bordelon
Content warning – this story contains information about a criminal offense of a sexual nature
A February indictment for the sexual abuse by a person in a position of trust was resolved with a plea and a dismissal both on Tuesday, October 20. Michael Doolin was found guilty of two new charges brought by the state for displaying obscene matter to a minor in a plea agreement accepted by Greenbrier County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dent.
In February, Doolin was indicted on four counts of sexual abuse by a person in a position of trust. However, as part of the plea agreement, the prosecution moved to drop these charges and introduced a felony information, with an agreement from Doolin that it would not need to be seen by a grand jury before the charges were brought. Doolin pled guilty to two counts brought in the information filed, and the four charges brought by the February grand jury indictments were dismissed.
“[The agreement] indicates that you are going to plead guilty to count one of [the new charges], which is the felony offense of distribution and display to a minor of obscene matter,” said Dent. “It also indicates that you are going to plead guilty to count two … the felony offense of use of obscene matter to attempt to seduce a minor.”
Assistant Prosecutor Ryan Blake summarized the state’s case against the 27-year-old Doolin, with respect to the new charges brought in the information.
“The state would intend to produce evidence to show that, as it relates to count 1, … in June or July of 2019, the defendant, Michael Gergory Doolin, did electronically display certain obscene matter … to a minor. … who was believed to be approximately 16 years of age during this period of time,” Blake explained. “At the time of the display, Mr. Doolin was an adult and he did have knowledge of the character of the matter displayed. … With respect to count 2, … within that same range of time, June or July of 2019, the defendant electronically displayed certain obscene matter to [the same victim]. … It was done with the intent or for the purpose of facilitating the sexual seduction or abuse of the minor.”
Doolin declined to offer his version of the events described by the prosecution, with Dent moving forward with the change of plea hearing.
“Are you pleading guilty to that charge because you are, in fact, guilty of the charge?” Dent asked.
“Yes ma’am,” Doolin answered.
Now found guilty by the court, Doolin’s case will move toward sentencing in a hearing expected later this year. According to the agreement, the maximum possible sentence is 10 years imprisonment and a $50,000 fine, five years and $25,000 for each count. In addition, Doolin will be required to register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life in the state of West Virginia.