The State Grand Jury issued indictments against Chesterfield County Sheriff Sam Parker Tuesday evening that have put him out of office — and awaiting trial. Parker has been charged by South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson with four counts of misconduct in office and two counts of furnishing contraband to inmates.
According to a statement from the Attorney General’s Office, “ … the indictment alleges Parker allowed convicted Department of Corrections inmates to live outside jail, go shopping, dine in public restaurants and wear civilian clothing in exchange for performing work on the Sheriff’s house and personal property, as well as assisting with special events and performing work within the Sheriff’s Department.”
By Wednesday morning, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley had “issued an executive order suspending him” of his duties. According to Mark Powell, spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, Parker will remain on suspension “until he is either convicted or acquitted. The matter will have to be resolved in court.”
The case will be prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office. However, Attorney General Wilson stressed all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty in a court of law.
The misconduct offense is a common law misdemeanor, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The contraband offense is a statuary felony punishable up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine at the discretion of the court.
“We knew there was a grand jury investigation but we didn’t expect the indictment to come about,” Parker’s attorney Johnny Gasser said during a phone interview Tuesday evening with Channel 13 News. The attorney’s comments were published on the News 13 website Wednesday.
“We deny all of the allegations, Parker is an innocent man, these allegation(s) are based on lies and/or misleading statements, or misapplication of the law, and we look forward to proving his innocence in an objective court,” Gasser stated.
“He has served (South Carolina) for 40 years risking his life multiple times and the way he is being treated is a travesty and when the truth comes out, the state will be outraged,” said Gasser.
— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by calling 843-537-5261, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.