MARTINSBURG — A 22-year-old Martinsburg man charged last year with having sex with two teenage girls in Berkeley County has agreed to a plea offer from the county prosecutor’s office.
Jeremiah Daniel Owens pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault charges from an eight-count indictment handed up in October 2007 that charged him with sexual assault and sexual abuse against two girls, ages 15 and 13, and that stemmed from separate incidents earlier that year.
Under the plea agreement, which was accepted by Circuit Judge Christopher Wilkes, the remaining six counts of the indictment will be dismissed, according to Berkeley County Assistant Prosecutor Greg K. Jones.
Jones said the potential sentence Owens could face is not less than one year and not more than five years in prison for each count. Sentencing has been set for May 23 at 9 a.m.
Under the plea agreement, Owens must also register for life as a sexual offender.
Kevin Mills, Owens’ Martinsburg attorney, said he will ask the court to consider his request for probation or an alternative sentence at his sentencing.
“Mr. Owens has entered his guilty pleas to these two charges and he wishes to take full responsibility for his poor decisions,” Mills said. “We have a number of witnesses that will be testifying on his behalf at this hearing. These witnesses will be testifying in an effort to present the judge with a full and complete perspective on the many good things Jeremiah has been involved with.”
According to a previous report, the mother of the 13-year-old, whose name will not be published to protect her identity, said her daughter met Owens at the Shenandoah Bible Baptist Church in Martinsburg where Owens’ father is the pastor.
The first incident reportedly occurred in Berkeley County and the victim’s father told police that the 13-year-old had been sexually assaulted by Owens. A day after he was arrested on the first charge, law enforcement responded to another report of an assault, records show.
The father of the 15-year-old victim told law enforcement officers that his daughter had had a sexual relationship with Owens. The teen told her parents about the relationship after finding out that the same type of incident had been reported to police.
Owens was sentenced to three years probation in September 2004 after pleading guilty to three counts of possession of stolen property following a string of burglaries in Indiana, for which he had been charged with burglary and theft. In December 2004, a Fayette County, Ky., grand jury dismissed rape charges against Owens because of insufficient evidence after he had been charged in November of that year with having sex with a 14-year-old girl at a school in Lexington where he worked as a janitor.