A financial settlement was reached Tuesday in the civil lawsuit against the Horry County Police Department charging that a detective sexually assaulted a victim whose case he was signed to investigate.
The last-minute agreement came as a jury already had been called, and the trial was scheduled to begin.
Lawyers for the woman identified only as Jane Doe 1 declined to state the amount of the settlement offered by the county, saying their client wished it to remain confidential.
“The settlement is bittersweet, in that I personally looked forward to shedding light on the widespread injustice within the Horry County Police Department, but the settlement offer was very substantial and will certainly have a positive impact on my client’s life,” said James B. Moore, III of the Evans Moore Law Firm.
Circuit Judge Deadra Jefferson from Charleston met with lawyers behind closed doors before the beginning of the pretrial hearings, which included a motion from the county asking that the trial be postponed.
When lawyers for the county swiftly departed the courtroom hours later, reporters asked whether the case had been continued or settled, Horry County Attorney Arrigo Carotti declined to answer.
Moore, including partner Scott Evans and co-counsel Amy Lawrence, told reporters that settlement discussions were ongoing for a few weeks leading up the trial.
“But now the numbers changed,” said Moore, indicating they had rebuffed initial offers.
“I don’t think it’s over and done, I think she’s going to live with the trauma that Detective Large put her through for the rest of her life,” Moore said. “I don’t think she settled the case because she didn’t want to go through the trauma of going through a trial, because she’s prepared to testify if requested in the future.”
The lawsuit charged that Allen Large, a detective with the police department who was fired last year after this and other civil lawsuits were filed, sexually assaulted Jane Doe 1.
Large is the target of four other civil suits making similar claims of sexual harassment or assault. The other four lawsuits claim that he encouraged the women to participate in videotaped nude catfights — a sub-genre of pornography that Large admitted during depositions that he enjoyed.
Moore said those four lawsuits will go forward, and that Jane Doe 1 may be called to testify in those cases.
Large was not in the courtroom on Tuesday, or Monday when the case originally was scheduled to begin, but delayed because Judge Jefferson was not available.
Large denied in depositions last year that he assaulted or harassed any of the women.
He was hired by the Horry County Police Department in 1988 and dismissed on July 31, 2015, after an investigation into sexual harassment charges.
The civil cases will only recover financial damages. It will be up to another court to determine whether Large has committed criminal acts.
Large was indicted in September by the S.C. Attorney General’s office on five counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and six counts of misconduct in office.
The indictments allege that Large knowingly used coercion to engage in sexual battery with multiple victims and knowingly engaged in inappropriate relationships with the victims of cases he was investigating.
Evans said that Jane Doe 1 also is willing to testify in Large’s trial on criminal charges.
“That’s going to be another chapter, that’s going to be up to the attorney general’s office how that all plays out,” Evans said.
No court dates have been set for the criminal charges, or the other civil lawsuits.