Former Myrtle Beach Rep. Thad Viers pleads guilty to harassment

akelley@thesunnews.comJanuary 8, 2014 

— Former Myrtle Beach area representative Thad Viers will serve jail time on a charge related to the harassment of his former girlfriend.

Viers on Wednesday pleaded guilty to second-degree harassment. A stalking charge was dismissed without prejudice as part of the agreement.

Circuit Court Judge Edward Cottingham accepted the plea and sentenced Viers to one year imprisonment, suspended to 60 days. He will serve time on the weekends starting Jan. 31 at 5 p.m.

Viers also will have a mental health evaluation and Cottingham said counseling is part of the sentence.

The charges stem from his arrest in Jan. 2012 after his former girlfriend told police Viers had repeatedly sent texts, emails and calls after she and others asked him to stop contact between July 2011 and Jan. 2012.

After his arrest in 2012, Viers resigned his state House seat and dropped his bid for the 7th Congressional District.

Charges related to the burglary of the woman’s apartment in March 2012 also were “dismissed with leave to restore,” said Fourth Judicial Circuit Deputy Solicitor Kernard Redmond during the proceedings.

The case was prosecuted by the Fourth Judicial Circuit to prevent a conflict of interest in the 15th Judicial Circuit, which includes Horry and Georgetown counties.

Redmond said if Viers contacts his former girlfriend directly or through a third party, even after the one-year-probation, the first-degree burglary and petit larceny charges would be prosecuted. First-degree burglary carries a minimum mandatory 15 years imprisonment if convicted.

Viers was accused of burglarizing his ex-girlfriend’s home off Brewster Drive the day before he resigned from the state legislature and was linked to the incident with IP addresses and cellphone records, according to prosecutors in Feb. 2013.

Cottingham said Viers would be “watched like a hawk,” to be sure there was no further contact with the victim.

“Apparently this victim wants you to go forward with your life ... but, I am not going to permit you to continue this conduct with her or anybody associated with her, now or before,” he said.

Redmond said Viers’ ex-girlfriend, who was not in the courtroom Wednesday or at previous hearings and could not be reached for comment, was “agreeable” with the plea deal but is ready to move past the incident.

“I can’t say [she] is pleased because of the trauma she has gone through,” Redmond said. “The fact that she has had to relocate ... she just wants her life back,” Redmond said.

Columbia-based attorney Dylan Goff said Viers remains on administrative suspension through the S.C. Bar Association. He said Viers likely will be able to reapply to practice law after the sentence, including probation, is served.

Goff said Viers, who did not wish to comment before or after the hearing, has been working for a Myrtle Beach area surgeon.

Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381, or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_akelley.

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