AP NEWS

Sheriff won’t seek 4th term after report details misconduct

February 5, 2020 GMT

UNION, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina sheriff announced Wednesday he would not seek reelection following the release of a state police report that said he mismanaged the department.

Union County Sheriff David Taylor requested a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division investigation into accounting irregularities discovered within the office in February 2018, WYFF-TV reported.

The SLED investigation, made public last week, “revealed several flaws” in Taylor’s management of the sheriff’s office.

During the investigation, sheriff’s office employee Kimberly Riddle Bailey admitted to taking money collected by the department from sex offender registry payments. An audit of the account found $76,315 was unaccounted for.

Bailey also told investigators that Taylor pulled down his pants in front of her, engaged in extramarital affairs and drank liquor purchased by Bailey during office hours. Bailey killed herself on March 27, 2018. Union County Deputy Coroner John Fallaw said Bailey died from a gunshot wound to the head.

Other employees also said Taylor engaged in inappropriate behavior. Maj. Robbie Hines told SLED he saw sexually explicit messages on the county phone used by Taylor. Deputy Scott Coffer told SLED he was also asked to buy alcohol for Taylor.

Taylor, who has been sheriff for 12 years, said he’s proud of the work he has done, but said he would not seek a fourth term.

In a statement Wednesday, he told news outlets some of the allegations were true but many were false. He said any statement that may have been true was dealt with internally.

“I apologize for my failures and the negative publicity that I have brought to the Union County Sheriff’s Office, our employees and deputies,” Taylor said.

SLED Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said that while Taylor may have mismanaged the department he didn’t “obtain any personal financial benefit” from the mismanagement. Wilson also said she didn’t recommend criminal charges against Taylor.