CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will request a special prosecutor to handle any potential charges that may result from the investigation into County Commission President Kent Carper.

Don Morris, first deputy prosecutor for Kanawha County, said the decision was made to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest should the investigation lead to charges against Carper. Also, he said, investigators sometimes require legal advice from the prosecutor’s office during the course of an investigation.

The request will be made first to the circuit court. It will then go to the Prosecuting Attorneys Institute, a state agency that will assign a prosecutor from a different county.

The investigation into Carper is being conducted by the Charleston Police Department and began on May 15 when a woman called Metro 911 to report a man engaged in lewd behavior at Daniel Boone Park. An officer was dispatched to the scene and interviewed Carper who was in the park at the time.

The following day, Carper was admitted to a local hospital for heart problems and underwent open heart surgery on May 18.

Due to his hospitalization, Carper has not been available for comment. However, his daughter blamed the incident on his medical condition saying, “My father’s illness and his apparent confusion have been misinterpreted as being something inappropriate. My family and I regret this awful misunderstanding.”