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Jefferson Co. sheriff concerned about Job Corps center

February 06, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.VA. -- Jefferson County Sheriff Everett "Ed" Boober said Wednesday he is concerned about operations at the Harpers Ferry Job Corps, and added there has been resistance from people in charge of the center during attempts to examine issues there.

Boober's comments come in the wake of three students at the Harpers Ferry Job Corps off Job Corps Road north of Charles Town being charged with second-degree sexual assault in the reported rape of a female student at the center.

The victim in the rape, which was reported to police Monday at 12:39 a.m., was an 18-year-old, police said.

The students charged in the incident stated that sexual intercourse had taken place in a room, but they said it was done with the consent of the victim, according to a criminal complaint filed by Sheriff's Deputy J.C. Tennant.

The victim said she told all three of the accused that she was unwilling to engage in sex and added that she clearly stated "no," according to the criminal complaint.

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Tennant said he and another officer searched Room 4 in Dormitory 2 and found two used condoms that appeared to be moist in a trash can.

The one adult defendant, Leron Edward Jones, 18, of 1640 Power Road in Brookhaven, Pa., remained in the Eastern Regional Jail in Martinsburg, W.Va., Wednesday night on $100,000 bond, a jail spokeswoman said.

The two juvenile defendants, both 17 years old, were being held Wednesday afternoon in the Vicki Douglas Juvenile Center in Martinsburg on $50,000 bond each, said Lt. Dave Colbert of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department. They were charged as juveniles, Colbert said.

Boober said he plans to contact officials with the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of the Interior to express his concerns about the local Job Corps center.

Both federal agencies are involved in the operation of the center, Boober said.

Doris Hall-James, the director of the Job Corps, did not return a phone message left with her office Wednesday afternoon.

Students between 16 and 24 years old come to the Harpers Ferry Job Corps to learn trades in areas including carpentry, brickwork and computers. Many of the students are from inner cities, center officials have said.

The local Job Corps also offers a GED program and co-enrollment at Shepherd University, according to its Web site.

The center on Buffalo Drive is on about 77 acres and has served up to 166 students recently.

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