Former police chief Rhodes says she’s ready to be questioned in Jane Doe lawsuits

Former Horry County Police Chief Saundra Rhodes.
Former Horry County Police Chief Saundra Rhodes. jlee@thesunnews.com

Former Horry County Police Chief Saundra Rhodes says she is ready to be questioned in the Jane Doe lawsuits, but she hasn’t been given the chance.

The cases, which allege a former detective sexually assaulted or harassed several women, were filed by women only identified as Jane Doe. It’s scheduled for three days of court mediation beginning July 19. If no settlements are reached, trials are set to begin in October.

However, lawyers representing the county are asking the court to reschedule the trial until next summer, and say in court documents that neither Rhodes or former Sgt. Thomas Delpercio have been deposed.

“I have been asked for numerous depositions and then I get calls saying the deposition has been postponed,” Rhodes said.

“I am not missing in action,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes said she was not certain whether her depositions were postponed by the county’s lawyer, or by the lawyers representing the Jane Does. None of the lawyers were available Thursday to pinpoint the problem.

Lisa Thomas, lawyer for the county, did not return phone calls for comment. The lead lawyer representing the Jane Does is out of town and could not be reached for comment.

The federal case eventually will be heard in the U.S. District Court of South Carolina Florence Division, unless all sides reach a settlement in mediation talks.

The county suggested they will be ready for mediation next week, although they have requested delays for most court actions.

Judge Bruce Howe Hendricks is being asked by the county to give all sides until January to complete the discovery process, which includes depositions.

They also are asking that mediation be held in March, and the trials delayed until June.

Judge Hendricks has not signed the rescheduling request.

The lawsuits center around Allen Large, a former county detective, who is accused of sexually assaulting or harassing the women known as Jane Doe 2, Jane Doe 3 and Jane Doe 4.

The lawsuits were filed last summer, and state that Large tried to pressure the women into participating in a sub genre of pornography called catfighting.

All three of the women have faced questioning by lawyers in depositions for a total of 12 hours, and three of the county defendants have undergone depositions for a combined six-and-a-half hours, according to court documents.

Large already has undergone more than five hours of questioning for his deposition.

The county reached a settlement agreement with Jane Doe 1 in January. Another woman who is not part of these lawsuits filed separately as a Jane Doe 5, and also settled her case out of court this year.

Audrey Hudson: 843-444-1765, @AudreyHudson