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Charges filed against W.Va. man accused of raping teen

Judge rules that Richard Ernest Brightwell be held without bond

January 06, 2011|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com
  • Richard Ernest Brightwell
Richard Ernest Brightwell

Charges have been filed in Washington County District Court against a West Virginia man accused of raping a teenager four times in 2006.

Richard Ernest Brightwell Jr., 32, of 25 Pilgrim St., Inwood, W.Va., waived extradition Wednesday from Berkeley County in West Virginia, where he was being held on a charge of second-degree sexual assault involving a teenage girl.

Brightwell is charged in Washington County with four counts each of first- and second-degree rape, second-degree assault and third-degree sexual offense; three counts of false imprisonment; two counts each of kidnapping a child under the age of 16; possession of a firearm in a vehicle and possession of a handgun on his person; and one count each of first-degree assault and possession of a handgun in commission of a violent crime, according to the summary of charges filed by the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

"He is a danger wherever he is," Assistant State's Attorney Brett Wilson told District Court Judge Dana Moylan Wright during Brightwell's bond hearing Thursday.

 He asked Brightwell that be held without bond, noting the similar charges he faces in West Virginia and the possibility that more charges could be filed in Washington County.

Brightwell asked the judge to consider that he had a family and no criminal record since 2007.

Wright ordered Brightwell held without bond.

A detective with the Hagerstown Police Department contacted a detective with the sheriff's office in November regarding a woman who had reported she had been raped several times in 2006 when she was 15 years old, the application for statement of charges said.

The woman alleged the first attack occurred on Halloween night, when Brightwell offered her a ride to her house from his former home on East Avenue in Hagerstown, the charging documents said.

Instead, Brightwell allegedly drove her to a farm, pulled a gun and raped her, the documents said.

The woman told police that the second rape occurred in the basement of his house prior to Thanksgiving, the documents said.

The third rape happened before Christmas, when the teenage girl and two cousins got into a vehicle with Brightwell, who then ordered the cousins to get out, the documents said.

She alleged Brightwell drove her to an abandoned house, took her to the attic and assaulted her again, the documents said.

The woman told investigators she believed Brightwell had a gun on him in that incident, the documents said.

The fourth incident also occurred in December 2006 when Brightwell drove the girl to a business on Burhans Boulevard and raped her in his vehicle, the documents said.

"It got to the point that he didn't need to show a gun," because she knew he had one, the woman told investigators, the documents said.

Brightwell is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 3.

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