Ten years ago, a rape allegation forced then-S.C. Senator John Hawkins to abandon his bid for the S.C. Attorney General’s office. Today, those same allegations are threatening to derail his latest campaign – a bid to reclaim his old State Senate seat.
Notice we said “threatening” … because so far The Spartanburg Herald-Journal (the local paper of record) and other mainstream media outlets in the state are doing their best to pretend that Hawkins 1989 rape arrest never happened. In fact, one of the SHJ‘s reporters, Andrew M. Doughman, referred to our story about the allegations as an example of dirty politics.
“Local senate race getting ugly,” Doughman tweeted on Monday. “Now alleged rape cases from ’89 are being dredged up.”
“Dredged up?” Really? In other words, Hawkins is the victim and we’re the ones “getting ugly.”
First of all the Hawkins incident wasn’t an “alleged rape case,” (as Doughman is about to discover the hard way), it was an alleged rape – which resulted in John Hawkins’ getting arrest and charged. In fact the lead investigator referred to it years later as “one of the strongest rape cases I’ve ever seen.”
“There was no doubt force was used,” the investigator told reporter John Monk of The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper in 2002. ” This was not a consensual act.”
How bad was the alleged assault?
Here’s an excerpt from the statement that police took from Angela Tolleson, the “alleged” victim …
He grabbed at my sweater and I was trying to pull it away from him, but he pushed me and pulled my sweater off. He shoved me up against the wall and unfastened his pants. He came toward me and I started slapping him and pushing him away. He grabbed me and threw me on the floor beside the desk. He stepped on me, on my stomach, so I couldn’t get up. He started cussing at me and he asked me how many people I had slept with. He took a condom out of his pocket and he said he didn’t want to catch AIDS. Then he started down towards me. I tried to get up but he wouldn’t let me and pushed me back down. He forced himself inside of me and held my arms down. I told him to stop many times, but he continued. Finally, he ejaculated and got off of me. He took the condom off and threw it in a trash can …
Additional details – including extensive documentation of the injuries that Tolleson sustained during the “alleged” rape – can be found in public case files provided to FITS (view these documents below).
It’s worth noting that a S.C. Circuit Court judge ordered that these public documents be destroyed in 1990 (Hawkins had a pair of powerful attorneys, and his father was a state lawmaker), but somehow they survived. Hawkins was ultimately able to beat the rape rap because Tolleson was intimidated into remaining silent and not testifying against him.
So … will The Spartanburg Herald-Journal continue to sit on this story (and actually defend Hawkins against those who have the temerity to bring up these allegations)?
Editors at the paper were not immediately available to speak to us regarding the issue … although for the second time in a row with this case it appears as though an out-of-town media outlet is having to do this particular newspaper’s job.
About FITS Leaks: The documents used in this report were provided as part of our ongoing “FITSLeaks” series – an effort to get public information (and other newsworthy items) out into the public bloodstream as quickly as possible. Got a document, photo or tip you’d like to submit? Email our founding editor Will Folks (firstname.lastname@example.org) or send it via our contact page (http://www.fitsnews.com/make-contact). All submissions are anonymous …