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Planning official faces charges

November 25, 2005|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG - A pastor and president of the Berkeley County Planning Commission charged Wednesday with soliciting prostitution was described by a colleague Thursday as an "outstanding and upstanding" man who has made years worth of good planning decisions.

But the Rev. Raymond G. Brosius Jr.'s alleged decision to pay a woman $20 to perform a sex act would be a "stupid mistake," if proven true, said John Jeans, who serves on the planning commission with Brosius.

The Martinsburg Police Department said Sgt. G.B. Swartwood, a detective with the department, on Wednesday saw two people in a vehicle at Charlotte Prather Park off Ryneal Street in Martinsburg who appeared to be "involved in sexual conduct."

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Swartwood observed the activity at about 3:20 p.m., police said.

Brosius, 62, of 167 Columbia Drive in Kearneysville, W.Va., later was charged with soliciting prostitution, the Martinsburg Police Department said.

Valen George, 22, of 225 S. Spring St. in Martinsburg, also was charged with soliciting prostitution.

Both later said that Brosius had paid George $20 to perform a sex act, police said.

Brosius could not be reached Thursday at two phone numbers listed in the phone book for a "Rev. Ray Brosius."

Jeans said he's known Brosius for about 10 years and also has met his wife and family.

"It's an utter shock," Jeans said. "This is the typical Ozzie and Harriet family."

Brosius is pastor at Church of the Bible Covenant in Martinsburg, Jeans said.

Jeans said he spoke with Brosius on Thursday and that Brosius asked him if he thought he should resign from the planning commission.

"I said, 'Absolutely not,'" Jeans said. "No way would I resign. They would have to ask me to resign or throw me off because I made some stupid mistake."

Whether Brosius is removed would be up to the Berkeley County Commissioners, who appoint the planning commission.

Commission President Steven C. Teufel and Commissioner Howard L. Strauss did not return phone calls Thursday. Commissioner Ronald K. Collins could not be reached for comment.

"To me, he's still a good man ..." Jeans said.

Jeans said the charge hasn't been proven and that he plans to stand by Brosius. He said the charge has nothing to do with the planning commission.

"I just don't think the man ought to be hung for it," Jeans said.

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