Charged with sex crimes, new mayor immediately suspended
DILLON, S.C. (AP) — Charged with sex crimes, the new mayor of a small South Carolina city was sworn into office Thursday but then immediately suspended under an executive order by Gov. Henry McMaster.
John Corey Jackson, Dillon’s new leader, faces 11 counts of first-degree sexual exploitation involving multiple minors. News outlets report Jackson took his oath of office in a private ceremony held at the Dillon City Complex. Clerk of Council Tina Scott administered the oath.
McMaster’s order went into effect the moment Jackson, 23, took the oath or tried to exercise any official powers.
“Governor McMaster suspended Corey upon Corey taking office, which prompted Corey to have a private, rather than public, swearing-in ceremony,” said Rose Mary Parham, Jackson’s attorney, in a statement. “The Governor’s suspension is standard procedure for elected officials facing criminal charges. Corey maintains his innocence and looks forward to his day in court. ”
Weeks after his runoff election victory April 16, Jackson was charged with 11 counts of first-degree sexual exploitation. Jackson is accused of using Snapchat — a photo and video messaging app — to offer teenage boys money in exchange for explicit photos from June 2017 to April.
Some community members said they fully support Jackson and believe in the expression “innocent until proven guilty.” Others said it’s best that Jackson resign to spare the city from any further humiliation.
Larry German told WPDE-TV that he’s known Jackson and his family for years, and couldn’t believe the news about the town’s new mayor when he heard it.
“I hope the courts can figure it out and get to the bottom of it so Corey can do the job he was elected to do,” German said.
City manager Glen Wagner said Jackson’s suspension would not stop the city from operating.
“The mayor is more of a figurehead under our form of government,” Wagner said. “He presides over meetings. He’s a ribbon-cutter. Our mayor and council implement policy but it’s my job, as city manager, to run the day to day operations of the city.”
Wagner said Jackson would remain suspended until the case is resolved and, until then, “He can’t be part of any decision-making.”