On April 27 2023, a Twitter user asserted that 42 women (ten of whom are described as “minors”) sued West Virginia’s state police for allegedly concealing cameras in a locker room and for drugging and assaulting victims:
An April 28 2023 tweet provided screenshots of an apparent news article about the allegations:
No additional information about the claim was included in the tweet. A Reddit user shared a news link to the subreddit r/news, referencing the “West Virginia State Police investigation” and allegations of abuse and sexual misconduct:
That Reddit post linked to an April 26 2023 article by West Virginia’s WVNS-TV, largely addressing “new developments” in an ongoing local news story. On April 24 2023, WTRF-TV published “West Virginia State Police Investigation: 10 more minors, 42 more women in total to sue West Virginia State Police over hidden cameras.”
WTRF-TV’s headline featured details matching the viral tweet embedded above and provided further context about the allegations and pending lawsuit. According to the story, attorney Teresa Toriseva drafted a “notice of legal action,” indicating that 42 girls and women in total planned to sue the West Virginia State Police:
Wheeling West Virginia Attorney Teresa Toriseva sent a notice of legal action to Interim WVSP Superintendent Colonel Jack Chambers and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey on April 21  saying 42 women, including 10 minors, plan to file lawsuits against the West Virginia State Police.
According to a letter sent by Cpl. Joseph Comer, a member of the WV State Police, to state lawmakers, Governor Jim Justice, and the office of the Attorney General on February 16 , a hidden camera or cameras were placed and operated inside the female locker room at the State Police Academy. Toriseva says her clients and other female Junior Trooper program attendees accessed and used the female locker room at the Academy during the time the anonymous letter states the cameras were in use. Toriseva also says the taping of the females in the Academy did not end until 2020, the same time the Junior Trooper Program was discontinued in 2020.
According to WTRF-TV, West Virginia State Police superintendent Jan Cahill resigned on March 20 2023; the outlet linked to a WTRF-TV series of articles about the allegations. Toriseva’s letter sid in part:
All of these women were victims of a civil conspiracy perpetrated by instructors, staff and leadership at the West Virginia State Police Academy. Accordingly, these women will bring suit seeking all available damages under the law.
A February 20 2023 WOWK-TV article (“West Virginia State Police under investigation for alleged theft, sexual assault”) appeared to be one of the first reports concerning the allegations. It reported that the investigation had been triggered by a whistleblower’s anonymous letter:
A major investigation focusing on the West Virginia State Police is underway.
The investigation was launched after a five-page anonymous letter was sent to Governor Jim Justice (R-WV), Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and a host of state lawmakers.
On April 11 2023, WOWK-TV reported that the whistleblower came forward, referencing allegations in the letter. Among them were claims of “sexual assaults” and “a hidden camera in the women’s locker room”:
Cpl. Joseph Comer, a member of the WV State Police, was the author of the letter, according to his attorney Dave Moye … The most serious allegations include sexual assaults, thefts, and damage to state-owned property at the state police academy. Other accusations include a hidden camera in the women’s locker room, misuse of taxpayer funds and some troopers billing for overtime they did not work.
An April 18 2023 video news segment by WDTV reported that “more women” joined the pending lawsuit; a caption explained:
Another pre-suit notice has been filed on behalf of five more women who say they were at the West Virginia State Police Training Academy when a hidden camera was allegedly in place.
Toriseva was quoted in an April 6 2023 WOWK-TV report about the ongoing investigation. WOWK-TV referenced Toriseva’s April 5 2023 “notice of forthcoming legal action”:
In the letter, Toriseva says she represents three young women who attended West Virginia Junior Trooper programs at the academy while they were between the ages of 14 and 17. She says the young women regularly used the women’s locker room during the same time period that a camera or cameras were present.
In a press release, Toriseva said that she expects many more women to come forward in the future because “voyeurism is never a single incident.”
“The deeper the investigation goes, the more shocking the conduct,” said Toriseva. “All the women who came through the Academy during the time the camera or cameras were being operated hope they were not filmed. With the admitted destruction of evidence, the burden is now on the West Virginia State Police to prove these women were not filmed.”
Several articles referenced a possible forthcoming legal action. A March 30 2023 WSAZ article about pending lawsuits explained:
West Virginia law requires 30 days notice before a lawsuit can be filed against a state agency. The other four women are still in that 30-day waiting period.
An April 20 2023 West Virginia Public Broadcasting (WVPB) article also referenced the mandatory waiting period, indicating that Toriseva’s notice was issued in late March 2023:
Another notice to sue the West Virginia State Police has been filed over a camera hidden in the State Police Academy’s women’s locker room.
The notice comes from Winfield-based attorney David Moye. He intends to sue the agency on behalf of five female plaintiffs who were training at the academy, concerned over possible exposure during the time the recording device was placed.
The letter gives the state government the mandatory 30 days notice of intent to file a lawsuit.
Both Moye’s law firm and the West Virginia State Police were unable to comment directly on the notice, but both groups confirmed with West Virginia Public Broadcasting that the notice itself had been filed.
WVPB reported that both notices were issued after a “state Department of Homeland Security investigation revealed an unnamed senior state trooper placed the camera sometime before March 2016.” WVPB added that the camera was discovered after the death of the trooper who installed it.
An April 3 2023 Mountain State Spotlight article, “What to know about the West Virginia State Police scandal,” went into further detail about the whistleblower’s letter and the trajectory of the story itself. According to that reporting, the letter’s allegations were largely known only to recipients until February 2023:
Sometime [in 2022], an anonymous letter was sent to the office of Gov. Jim Justice, alleging over a dozen incidents of misconduct within the State Police. It detailed drunken fights, office affairs, misspent funds, overtime theft, sexual assaults, and how a trooper had installed a hidden camera in the women’s locker room at the State Police Training Academy.
The letter worked its way through the state government like a slow-burning fuse. In the last few weeks, it has exploded. After the letter was sent to legislators and described by media outlets in mid-February , the governor confirmed several acts of misconduct among troopers. State Police Superintendent Jan Cahill has resigned under pressure from Justice. And State Police have arrested a trooper on domestic violence charges, which his attorney says are retaliation for speaking out.
Yet despite the revelations, critical elements of the sprawling scandal remain unknown. Most of the allegations in the letter have neither been publicly substantiated nor disproven. And Justice has not released the results of an initial investigation he said was completed over a week ago, despite vowing to be “one-thousand percent transparent.”
Meanwhile, Cahill has vigorously defended himself, saying he is “a fall guy” who was kept in the dark about the entire inquiry until Justice pressured him to resign.
On April 27 2023, several social media posts claimed that “42 woman including 10 minors are suing the west Virginia state police for hidden cameras in the women’s locker room,” indicating that the plaintiffs also reported sexual misconduct. The allegations were the subject of whistleblower’s letter in 2022, and came to public notice in February 2023. West Virginia mandated “30 days notice before a lawsuit can be filed against a state agency,” with notices filed in March and April 2023. The claim was accurate and substantiated by ongoing news stories out of West Virginia.