SLED launches investigation into CASA

The S.C. State Law Enforcement Division has launched an investigation into allegations of mismanagement of funds at the Grand Strand organization Citizens Against Spouse Abuse, said Sissy Rutherford, chairwoman of the CASA board of directors.

All grant funding for CASA has been frozen pending the outcome of the investigation.

“The board of directors is fully cooperating with that division,” said Rutherford via email. She wouldn’t give any further specifics about what prompted the investigation, only that the facts will be provided once the investigation is finished.

Sherri Iacobelli, spokeswoman for the S.C. Department of Public Safety, said in an email that the department’s Office of Justice Programs discovered inconsistencies in the management of a $32,000 federal grant awarded to CASA on July 1, 2011. Those concerns were submitted to SLED for further review. That two-month federal grant authorized the purchase of two midsized vans to transport victims of crime, according to information from Iacobelli. The DPS has a system of checks and balances to monitor grants and ensure their stipulations are being followed.

In a statement from CASA released late Wednesday afternoon, Rutherford acknowledged there have been recent allegations of mismanagement within the organization. Officials are conducting an audit of the group’s finances.

“We are investigating these allegations; however, we are convinced that all funds received by us have been used for legitimate purposes by our employees and volunteers,” Rutherford said in the statement.

CASA has served Horry and Georgetown counties for more than 30 years by providing a way for abused men and women to “break the cycle of domestic violence,” Rutherford said.