CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — A jury of seven men and five women had just acquitted Harrison Magistrate Mark Gorby of five sex-related charges when the hugs started.
First came one of his lawyers, Morgantown’s Belinda Haynie, who put her arm around Gorby’s neck as he wept quietly at the full realization he was now free from prosecution for the first time since his arrest in October 2014.
Next, his lead attorney, Tom Pavlinic of Annapolis, Maryland, came up behind 62-year-old Bridgeport resident Gorby and gave him a bear hug.
With court now out of session and the judge and prosecution out of the courtroom, others came forward past the Bar, too. And finally, Gorby’s wife, Barbara, made it to the front. Oblivious to the crowd of well-wishers milling about, she and Gorby held a deep embrace, the longest of all he gave, before they finally walked forward, hand-in-hand.
“I’m so relieved that the truth has prevailed,” Barbara Gorby said a few moments later.
With the charges hanging over his head, her husband was in “agony,” she said. “He went through pure agony. It was a travesty.”
The stakes really couldn’t have been much higher for Gorby…