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UPDATE: Plea Deal For Former Wirt County Coach

By: Todd Baucher, Abbie Schrader Email
By: Todd Baucher, Abbie Schrader Email
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UPDATE 3/4/2014 5:05 PM

A Wirt County track coach trusted with his young athletes finds himself in front of a judge facing a sex offense.

Tuesday he entered a plea.

Former Wirt County teacher and coach Lijiah Heiney was charged with having sex with a 16-year-old.

Tuesday he reached a deal with prosecutors.

Tuesday afternoon at the courthouse in Wirt County Lijiah Heiney did reach a plea agreement with prosecutors and Tuesday they presented it to the court.

Heiney was originally charged with six counts of sexual abuse by a person of trust.

He is now going to plead guilty to two felonies with suspended jail time, but remain on probation with five years of home confinement.

He must also register as sex offender.

There is to be no contact between Heiney and the victim or the victim's family.

Heiney can no longer live in Wirt or Wood County and must also give up his teaching license unless it's formally revoked by then.

Heiney's plea is actually an Alford Plea which basically means the defendant does not admit to the act, but admits that the prosecution could likely prove the charge.

His attorney, George Cosenza, explains their reasoning behind accepting the deal.

"Basically because the sentence of 1 to 5 years on each of those felony counts does not necessarily apply to the fact situation of this case," says Cosenza. "Mr. Heiney has fully taken responsibility for this right from the beginning and in fact admitted his involvement in this. But it's not for him to escape any responsibility or accepting responsibility for the crime."

The judge reminded Heiney that he needs to have a mandatory evaluation as a sex offender before the next hearing.

In the meantime Heiney will remain on probation while the court decides whether to accept or reject the plea.

The next hearing is scheduled for May 14th.


A former Wirt County teacher faced a magistrate Tuesday...accused of an inappropriate relationship with a student.

Bond was set at $60,000 for Lijiah Heiney, accused of having sexual relations with a 16-year old female student at Wirt County High School.

The criminal complaint charges the relationship began at the high school, and continued at the 36-year old Heiney's Elizabeth residence.

He is charged with six counts of sexual abuse by a person of trust.

The Wirt County Sheriff's Department says the alleged acts took place between may 23rd and july fourth.

Heiney resigned his teaching position at the school July 23.


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