Bodycam footage released of indecent exposure by former Kanawha County Commissioner Kent Carper

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The city of Charleston has released bodycam footage taken by a city police officer investigating an allegation of indecent exposure by former Kanawha County Commissioner Kent Carper.

The video was taken at Daniel Boone Park on May 15, 2023, when 911 dispatched police to the Charleston park after a woman called to say a man, now identified as Commissioner Carper, indecently exposed himself to her.

The patrol officer who responded was Hart Childress, who happens to be the boyfriend of Commissioner Lance Wheeler’s administrative assistant, Megan Estep.

Childress talked to both Carper and the caller at Daniel Boone Park on May 15. Carper was questioned but was not cited and was free to go.

Hours later, Carper allegedly sent Estep an email asking if she was interested in becoming the golf superintendent at a county park.

After the events of May 15, Carper’s family issued a statement saying he suffered from a medical condition that day at the park and this was all an “awful misunderstanding.” Carper then had an open–heart bypass surgery later that same week.

Carper resigned from the Kanawha County Commission on May 10, effective that Sunday, May 12. May 10 was the same day the U.S. Attorney and a special state prosecutor decided not to file criminal charges. He will not face charges in Charleston Municipal Court, according to city officials.

Carper was on last Tuesday’s primary election ballot, but he said he would not take office even if re-nominated. Challenger Natalie Tennant beat Carper with 86% of the vote.

The Kanawha County Commission has met to discuss the procedure for replacing Carper. The two remaining commissioners have 30 days to fill the vacant seat on the board, per the West Virginia State Code. They must choose a Democrat since that is Carper’s party affiliation.

The commission says there will be a special meeting on Thursday, May 30 to appoint the new commissioner.

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