A former Sampson County sheriff’s deputy is facing serious felony charges stemming from a sexual encounter involving a minor, dating back to April 2011.
Richard Matthew West, 30, of Clinton, was arrested by agents with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation Tuesday and charged with statutory rape; second degree rape; taking indecent liberties with a minor; and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He was released under a $250,000 unsecured bond.
According to reports from the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office, deputies began investigating a sexual assault that was reported on Saturday, April 23, 2011. Once investigators discovered that the suspect in the sexual abause was an off-duty Sampson County deputy sheriff, investigators immediately contacted the SBI to take over the case to avoid any potential conflict of interest. West was immediately placed on administrative leave until a preliminary investigation could be concluded.
Based on information developed through the preliminary investigation, West, who was hired as a deputy in September 2009, was terminated from the Sheriff’s Office two days after the report was filed.
Prior to the sexual assault allegation, West did not have any disciplinary history with the department, according to officials at the Sheriff’s Office.
Noelle Talley, public information officer with the N.C. Department of Justice, said details on the incident were not available due to the sensitive nature of the investigation, however, she did say West made his first appearance in court Friday morning.
Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton declined to make a statement about last week’s arrest.