CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The whistleblower who wrote the five-page anonymous letter alleging wrongdoing and sparking an investigation into the West Virginia State Police has come forward.
Cpl. Joseph Comer, a member of the WV State Police, was the author of the letter, according to his attorney Dave Moye.
The letter was sent to Governor Jim Justice (R-WV), Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and a host of state lawmakers. The letter was brought to light publicly in 2023.
The most serious allegations include sexual assaults, thefts, and damage to state-owned property at the state police academy. Other accusations include a hidden camera in the women’s locker room, misuse of taxpayer funds and some troopers billing for overtime they did not work.
Following the letter, Comer was arrested and charged with domestic battery and felony strangulation in connection to two child custody exchanges in Ritchie County, West Virginia.
When 13 News spoke with Attorney Moye about the charges, he said they are retaliatory in nature because Comer previously brought attention to misconduct from the top ranks of the department. He said the charges were filed the day before Comer was set to have a grievance hearing.
Moyer said from the start Comer attempted to work within the chain of command to address his concerns, but he said that process ultimately let him down.
“He revealed several of the things to Major Findley who was the head of internal affairs hoping to get it investigated, but instead of Major Findley investigating it, he turned around and pretty much laced a target on my client’s back, Cpl. Comer, and started to discipline him, demote him,” Moye said. “They started investigating him rather than investigating the complaint that he made.”
In March 2023, a Ritchie County magistrate judge decided there was probable cause in a felony strangulation charge against Comer to send the case to a grand jury. Comer pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor battery charge.
In April 2023, Moye sent a letter to Col. Jack Chambers, the current superintendent of the West Virginia State Police, asking him for assistance in investigating what lead to the charges that resulted in Cpl. Comer being put on administrative leave.
WOWK 13 News reached out to WVSP for comment, and they say Comer’s “employment status remains unchanged while the investigation continues.”