Former Fayette County teacher and coach pleads guilty to child sex crimes

FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOWK) — A former Fayette County teacher pleaded guilty to multiple child sexual assault charges involving teenage boys.

Anthony Ciliberti, Jr., Prosecuting Attorney for Fayette County, says that Leonard Dale Varner, Jr., 35, pleaded guilty on Monday, Mar. 7, 2022, to one count of third-degree sexual assault, one count of second-degree sexual assault, one count of sexual abuse, parent, guardian, custodian, or person in position of trust and soliciting a minor.

Varner worked at Ansted Middle School in Fayette County’s school system up until the Summer of 2018 where he was a teacher and a coach, according to Ciliberti. He then started working within Putnam County’s school system. Varner has lived in both Fayette County and Kanawha County.

Ciliberti says that incidents happened between the Summer of 2017 and Winter of 2018 and a final incident in June 2020 when the investigation started.

Particular incidents happened at his house in Kanawha County along with an incident on Memorial Day weekend in 2019 where he allegedly invited students to spend a weekend at a campground at Summersville Lake where he had a camper. Ciliberti says that an incident took place at the campground.

Varner is currently being held at Southern Regional Jail and his bond was revoked when he pleaded guilty on Monday.

His current sentencing date is set for May 9, 2022, at 9:30 a.m. He can face up to 60 years.