New special prosecutor appointed in Alderman case
Circuit Judge Joseph Pomponio signed an order last week appointing a new special prosecutor in the case State vs. Norman Alderman. Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Justin St. Claire was appointed April 19.
Alderman, a former teacher and county commissioner, was arrested two years ago on charges of intent to harass or abuse by computer. The Pocahontas County Sheriff's Department confiscated several computers and peripheral devices such as hard drives, from Alderman's home during the arrest. Alderman, who was also a technology consultant for the Pocahontas County Board of Education, was charged with felony unauthorized possession of computer data when he admitted in a video on his website to having student records on those computers.
The first arrest came about as a result of a complaint by County Commissioner David Fleming, whose place of residence Alderman had questioned after Fleming's divorce. Alderman contended that Fleming was living outside the district Fleming was elected to represent. Alderman was accused of asking people via his website to begin a community watch to determine where Fleming "went to bed at night and got up in the morning." Fleming's complaint said he feared for his safety.
Alderman was arrested for the second time on the computer-related charge after he posted a video on his website asking that law enforcement officials treat his confiscated computer equipment and other electronic equipment with care because he did not want the confidential information they held to be leaked. The board of education's complaint said Alderman was in possession of student and personnel information including Social Security Numbers, dates of birth, information regarding conditions of students, test scores, special needs students and special education students.
The board's complaint said the data was "extremely confidential" and should not have been removed from the board of education office under any circumstances.
All charges against Alderman were dropped last September by Special Magistrate Riley Barb, of Tucker County, during a "show cause" hearing. The state was not represented in the case because special prosecutor James Milam was in Grand Jury in Nicholas County.
New charges against Alderman have not been filed. St. Claire was not available Tuesday for comment. It was unclear from the court documents why a special prosecutor had been named in the two-year-old case.
Pocahontas County Prosecuting Attorney Donna Price was recused from the case in 2010, as was Magistrate Kathy Beverage, and subsequently, Special Magistrate Doug Beard, of Greenbrier County.
Alderman was a county commissioner from 1989-1994, and is seeking election to that post this year.
Pamela Pritt may be reached at email@example.com