The former PikeView High School teacher charged with coercing students into sexual relationships has been found competent to stand trial.

Jonathan Edward Kirk, 35, formerly of Princeton, was indicted in June of a host of sex-related charges involving then-PikeView High School students between the ages of 16 and 18 during the investigation. The alleged crimes include multiple counts each of soliciting a minor via computer; use of minors in filing sexually explicit conduct; distribution and delivery of obscene matter to a minor; use of obscene matter with the intent to seduce a minor; and sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or custodian.

Kirk was arrested in March and has remained in custody at the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver ever since.

His trial was originally slated in July, but a motion for forensic psychiatric review filed by defense counsel Wayne Evans resulted in a continuance.

According to information on file in the Mercer County Circuit Clerk’s office, that evaluation was conducted on Aug. 26, in Huntington.

The results of that review indicate Kirk was found competent to stand trial, understand the difference in right and wrong and to assist in his own defense.

Currently, the trial is slated for early October before Circuit Judge William Sadler.

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West Virginia State Police Sgt. M.D. Clemons conducted the investigation into the allegations against Kirk.

At the time of his arrest, the officer reported she interviewed up to 12 potential complainants in the case, and the initial round of charges included allegations of seven girls, ages 16-18, who were students at PVHS at the time the alleged abuse reportedly took place.

According to the criminal report on the matter, Kirk is accused of starting and fostering inappropriate relationships with a number of female students between 2010 and 2012, just after he transferred from Oakvale School to PVHS.

The alleged crimes range from the exchange of sexually explicit text, Facebook, and Twitter messages to hands-on sexual abuse.

In several instances, the girls alleged that Kirk asked them to send naked pictures of themselves to his iPhone and sent them explicit pictures of himself. In others, the girls accuse Kirk of coercing them to kiss him, touch him and perform sexual favors.

— Contact Tammie Toler at ttoler@ptonline.net.

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