The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating allegations that a former Horry County police detective sexually assaulted female crime victims while he was supposed to be working on their cases, according to court records and officials.
The former detective has not been named in court records or by authorities, although one of the women making the accusations filed a lawsuit against the county and the police department late last month.
The lawsuit states that SLED is investigating reports that the former detective sexually assaulted multiple women while working as an investigator for the county.
Detective utilized his Horry County issued vehicle and visually displayed his Horry County Police Department badge and police issued firearm. Plaintiff was unable to resist the unwanted sexual advances out of fear of retribution.
Lawsuit filed against Horry County and Horry County Police Department
SLED spokesman Thom Berry confirmed that the state agency has launched an investigation involving the Horry County Police Department, though he declined to provide more details.
“It would be inappropriate for us to get into any kind of specifics,” he said.
County officials requested SLED’s assistance in the matter, said county spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier. She also declined to provide more details, citing the ongoing SLED inquiry and the lawsuit.
Filed on Dec. 22, the lawsuit states that the plaintiff, a Georgetown County woman, called 911 on Dec. 25, 2013, to report that she had been sexually assaulted by someone she knew.
Two officers responded, but no arrests were made, according to the lawsuit. The following month, a detective contacted the woman, told her he had been assigned to her case and insisted on meeting at her home.
For the next six months, the detective “engaged in a course of coercive behavior, unwanted sexual advances, and sexual assault,” according to the lawsuit. In one instance, records state, the woman was assaulted by the detective in his police vehicle.
“Detective utilized his Horry County issued vehicle and visually displayed his Horry County Police Department badge and police issued firearm,” the lawsuit states. “Plaintiff was unable to resist the unwanted sexual advances out of fear of retribution.”
We are conducting an investigation involving the Horry County Police Department.
Thom Berry, SLED spokesman
Court records do not indicate when the detective stopped working for the department or the nature of his departure. Bourcier, the county spokeswoman, confirmed the detective is no longer employed by the county. She declined to provide more information, citing the SLED investigation. Berry, the SLED spokesman, said the county requested the SLED investigation on Nov. 4.
The lawsuit asserts that county and police department leaders should have known about the former detective’s behavior, but failed to stop him. The complaint also states that the department and the county did not immediately report the sexual assault allegations and condoned inappropriate officer conduct.
The woman says she suffered physical and psychological injuries. She is seeking unspecified damages.
Scott Evans, a Georgetown attorney representing the plaintiff, said he didn’t want to discuss the case because of the SLED inquiry.
“I don’t want to do anything to get in the way of that investigation,” he said.
Through a spokeswoman, Horry County Police Chief Saundra Rhodes declined to comment on the case.