Story From 5-Year-Old Leads To Charges

WHEELING – Graphic disclosures made by a 5-year-old boy to an elementary school counselor and family members prompted a Child Protective Services investigation that led to four child-related sex charges against Robert Joseph Morris.

Morris, 29, of Wheeling is charged with two counts of first degree sexual assault and two counts of sexual assault by a parent or guardian. He appeared before Magistrate Joe Roxby on Friday for a preliminary hearing.

Roxby granted Chief Public Defender Shane Welling’s request for a conditional waiver of a preliminary hearing pending delivery of disclosure documents from the prosecutor by Feb. 21. Welling said the next grand jury does not convene until May and he would like time to review the disclosure documents before a preliminary hearing is held.

State Police began investigating the case in December following a Nov. 18 forensic interview with the child at the Harmony House Children’s Advocacy Center. The criminal complaint alleges that between March and May 2012 at home in the 3600 block of Eoff Street, Morris had several instances of sexual contact with the victim, who at the time was 3 years old.

Morris remains lodged in the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville in lieu of $1 million bond, whch was set in January by Senior Status Magistrate Howard Carpenter.