Child predator pleads guilty in Marshall County

MARSHALL COUNTY, W.Va. – A Moundsville man who admitted to having hundreds of pictures of young children posed in a sexual manner on his computer will face some time in prison, but because of a state law that officials say is flawed, it won’t be as long as expected. Marshall County Prosecutor Jeff Cramer says Terry Dunlap is facing 2-to-10 years in prison for child pornography. He has already pleaded guilty in Harrison County, W.Va., to three other related charges. On Friday, he admitted to the charges in Marshall County. “He was initially discovered by the Bridgeport PD in West Virginia, and as a result of an investigation, we furthered an investigation here and discovered the material in his home,” Marshall County Sheriff Kevin Cecil said. It started in Harrison County when an officer with the West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, or ICAC, came into contact with Dunlap. That officer was posing as a young girl. When officers discovered he was from Moundsville, ICAC officers in Marshall County intervened. “What we do is, we proactively go and search for child predators who are preying on our children through social media or trading child pornography files,” said Det. Zack Allman of the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department. “The images and files he possessed were very small children, and that progressed to the situation where he solicited a juvenile another child for sexual purposes,” Cecil said. Investigators say Dunlap sent several inappropriate pictures of himself, thinking he was sending them to a child, and soliciting sex. Although police say they don’t believe Dunlap actually came into contact with any kids, they do believe he planned to. “A very high number of people that we arrest for possession of child pornography either have already offended and have touched a child or say they had planned to or wanted to,” Allman said. Dunlap could have faced more time if the law hadn’t been argued in Harrison County. Dunlap’s lawyer successfully argued there a phrase in the statue was wrong concerning police posing as children. Dunlap’s sentencing is March 5.