Legislators demand action on WV DNR Director accused of domestic violence

West Virginia
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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK/AP) – Several West Virginia Delegates are requesting Director of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Stephen McDaniel resign after he was charged with assaulting his ex-wife.

The woman told police she feared McDaniel was going to kill her during an argument in early April at her Florida home.

McDaniel was charged in St. John’s County, Florida, with misdemeanor battery.

The governor’s general counsel Brian Abraham said Friday that McDaniel later met with Gov. Jim Justice. Abraham says McDaniel “offered to resign to the governor, and the governor didn’t feel that was necessary based on the way events were explained to our office.”

McDaniel entered into a deferred prosecution agreement, in which he neither declared his innocence nor pleaded guilty to the charge.

“His behavior is unacceptable, as is the refusal to take action by the Governor’s Office because they believe that he is doing a good job,” Delegate Cindy Lavender-Bowe (D-Greenbrier)  stated. “Director McDaniel should resign from his position immediately. Should he refuse to resign, the Governor should terminate his employment because no matter how good of a job they believe that he is doing- it does not excuse domestic violence.”

“This man is a government official who publicly represents the State of West Virginia,” Delegate Amanda Estep-Burton (D-Kanawha) added.  “It was reported that Director McDaniel reached a deferred prosecution agreement with the State of Florida for these domestic violence charges. We cannot let domestic violence be the face of our state.”

“Several members have signed onto a letter to the Governor requesting him to take action to terminate Director McDaniel’s employment,” Delegate Cody Thompson (D-Randolph) stated.  “We stand behind this request and urge the Governor to stand up against domestic violence.”

Additional members of the House of Delegates joined this call for action, including Delegate Michael Angelucci (D-Marion), Delegate Sammi Brown (D-Jefferson), Delegate Evan Hansen (D-Monongalia), Delegate Danielle Walker (D-Monongalia) and Delegate Lisa Zukoff (D-Marshall).

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