Elder Pleads Guilty

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A Parkersburg lawyer on trial in a sexual assault and bribery case has entered a guilty plea.

Forty-two-year-old Jeffrey Elder pleaded guilty this morning to felony attempt to procure or induce perjury and misdemeanor second-degree sexual abuse. The plea was entered just before the last of several witnesses were to testify against him. The trial started last Monday.

"The defendant admitted to having sex with the victim, but that it was consensual, according to the statement he made (Monday)," said Wood County Prosecutor Ginny Conley. "He also admitted to paying $2000 to give to the victim in exchange for changing her testimony".

Elder faces up to four years in prison when sentenced March 2. The original felony charge of second-degree sexual assault, which Elder was indicted on in September 2002, carries a 10 to 25-year sentence.

"(Defense Attorney Bill Kiger) did a great job defending his client," Conley said. "But we had planned to present witnesses to impeach April Marshall, who testified last Friday, and that made the decision for the defendant."

Prosecutor Conley says Elder will have to register as a sex offender and will most likely lose his law license. Elder admitted having sex with an 18-year-old woman he was appointed to represent in a misdemeanor criminal case in Pleasants County, but said the sex was consensual.

The woman said Elder bought her a soft drink, and that after drinking it she began having trouble walking and talking clearly. She alleges Elder then took her to his home and assaulted her.

Witnesses said the woman was later paid $2,000 to recant her statements.