Police say a Bluefield man claiming to be a “warlock” used a promise of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.
James “Jim” Irvin, 57, of Bluefield, was arraigned Monday before Mercer County Magistrate Susan Honaker on five counts of sexual assault and 10 counts of sexual abuse involving juveniles. The victims in the case were 3, 9 and 13 years of age at the time of the alleged abuse, according to Detective K.L. Adams of the Bluefield Police Department.
Honaker set bond for Irvin at $100,000. Irvin told the court he had no money, and couldn’t afford an attorney. The man avoided eye contact with the news media as he was escorted in and out of the courtroom.
“I can’t come up with $100, not much less $100,000,” Irvin told Honaker.
The man was remanded to the custody of the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver following his arraignment on the charges. Honaker told Irvin that, if convicted, he faces a sentence of 15 to 35 years in prison on each of the sexual assault charges and five to 25 years in prison on each of the sexual abuse charges.
Adams said the investigation began on April 1 following a complaint by Child Protect of Mercer County. The investigation revealed that Irwin was a practicing pagan and wiccan. Adams said the man used his religion to allegedly get close to the children and ultimately sexually abuse them.
Adams said Irvin allegedly told two of the children, who were living with him at the time along with their mother and Irvin’s son, that he would perform magical acts on their mother, who was sick at the time, if they would participate in the sexual abuse.
According to the complaint, Adams began the investigation after watching forensic interviews conducted by Child Protect in February of 2013 on two of the three victims. Adams said the report showed the abuse occurred on Giles Street in Bluefield on or about January of 2007. The two victims, at the time, were ages 3 and 9.
Adams said the stepfather of the children was Irvin’s son. The Child Protect investigation alleged that Irvin inappropriately touched one of the children. In another instance, Irvin and the mother of the juvenile allegedly took her into a room and had her undress, the report said. Irvin allegedly told the juvenile she had to undress in order for her mother to get well and the magic to work. The report then alleges that Irvin undressed the girl and ordered her to get into a bed where he proceeded once again to inappropriately touch her. The report alleges Irvin also forced the girl to touch his private areas during the encounter. The victim was 3 years old at the time of the alleged offense.
The interview with the second juvenile alleged that the mother, who has not been charged and is cooperating with police in the investigation, believed Irvin was a “magical warlock” as part of his practicing wiccan religion. The report alleged the mother told the juvenile she had to go upstairs and do something with Irvin involving magic to keep her well. Adams said the mother was sick at the time.
After that day, the report alleges that Irvin had the juvenile go upstairs with him everyday after school for at least two weeks, and the mother was no longer present during those times. The report alleges that Irvin ordered the juvenile to remove her clothes and would then inappropriately touch her with his hands. The report alleges Irvin then had sexual intercourse with the juvenile each day during the second week of the alleged abuse. The report alleges that Irvin told the juvenile this had to happen to keep her mother well or the magic would not work.
During an interview with the mother of the two juveniles, the woman said Irvin was attempting to convert her to the pagan/wiccan religion. The woman said Irvin believed in magic, and claimed the “sex tantric magic” was the most powerful of all. However, the woman said Irvin alleged this type of magic would not work unless you had a virgin to perform sex acts on. The woman alleged that on two occasions she performed a ritual with Irvin along with her daughter where all would undress and hold hands around a offering of cheese and crackers.
Adams said he contacted another woman, who is the ex-wife of Irvin, on April 3. The woman is currently living in Texas, and was married to Irvin 20 years ago. After informing the woman of the investigation, she stated that 20 years ago Irvin had allegedly sexually assaulted her daughter, who was 13 at the time. Adams said in the report that Texas authorities were contacted, and an investigation was launched, but Irvin left Texas for West Virginia before the investigation was completed.
Adams said in the report that Child Protect Services in Texas did confirm an investigation was launched in 1994. Adams said he interviewed the third victim on April 3, who alleged she was sexually abused by Irvin from the time she was 5 years old to age 13. The victim is now an adult.
In an interview conducted on April 9, Adams said another victim voluntarily reported to the Bluefield Police Department to give a statement concerning her time at Irvin’s residence in Bluefield. The victim was 11 years old at the time, and alleged that Irvin told her he could perform magic and make her recently deceased father come back to life if she would perform sexual acts with him.
Adams said no additional charges are expected at this time, adding that the mother of the two children is fully cooperating with police. However, the investigation into the alleged crimes continues.
Adams said he is also seeking to interview any other individuals who may have been a victim in the case. Adams can be reached at the Bluefield Police Department at 304-327-6101.