Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus said Thursday that county officials are taking seriously an investigation into the police department as well as recent lawsuits filed by sexual assault victims and that he has complete faith in the law enforcement agency.
A third lawsuit against the county and police department was filed Wednesday, accusing former Detective Troy Allen Large of badgering a rape victim to fight other women, in the nude, on videotape. The lawsuit says Large also sexually assaulted the victim whose rape case he was assigned to investigate.
Large could not be reached for comment Wednesday and Thursday.
Lazarus described the allegations in a lawsuit as “horrendous” and admitted there were “a couple of bad apples” in the police department with whom officials had to deal with.
“But as far as being able to police and protect our citizens, that is not a problem,” Lazarus said.
“We have a very professional and dedicated police force of several hundred, and the investigations, with those sheer numbers, sometimes that happens. But we are on top of it and taking the right steps and cooperating with authorities.
“Our main concern is for the safety and welfare for our citizens and tourists, and that will not be compromised,” Lazarus said.
Individuals within the police department are under investigation by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. Another lawsuit accuses an unnamed detective of sexually assaulting a rape victim.
Top officials in the police department have retired in recent weeks, including chief Saundra Rhodes and deputy chief Scott Rutherford.