RURAL SOUTH CAROLINA LAW ENFORCEMENT DRAMA ESCALATES …
There’s been a media blackout in Laurens County, S.C. in the aftermath of our big story about the local “sexting sheriff,” Ricky Chastain. However, a local newspaper in neighboring Greenwood County, S.C. is apparently hot on the trail.
The Greenwood Index Journal is confirming our coverage of Chastain’s latest misadventures.
In fact their story appeared on the front page of Friday’s editions …
“Ricky Chastain’s name hangs over thousands of gray message bubbles in PDF files that appear to show text messages, many of them explicit, exchanged between the Laurens County sheriff and a woman who is not his wife,” the paper reported this week. “The 444 pages of text messages, which contained nude photos of the woman, did not indicate Chastain had a physical relationship with the woman, who the Index-Journal is not yet naming, and the woman denied having sex with Chastain. Time stamps indicated hundreds of the messages were sent on weekdays during normal business hours.”
According to the paper, Chastain has gone to great lengths over the last forty-eight hours to avoid commenting on the allegations.
“Chastain was not in his office either time a reporter visited Thursday and he did not respond to messages seeking comment left Wednesday and Thursday on his cellphone and office phone, or to an email sent about 11 a.m. Wednesday,” the paper reported. “No one answered his home phone Thursday afternoon. As of Thursday night, no news outlet has reported any comment from Chastain on the text messages.”
The paper did not name its source for the messages, saying only that they came from a man who “wanted Chastain to lose his bid for a fifth term” as sheriff of the rural Upstate, S.C. county.
So … is that why we broke this story?
No … we don’t live in Laurens County. Nor is it of any real concern to us who serves as the county’s sheriff. In fact to be perfectly fair, we’ve been made aware of some troubling allegations involving Chastain’s opponent in the upcoming “Republican” primary election – and in the event we are able to confirm those allegations, we will be reporting on them as well.
We decided to break the story about Chastain for three reasons …
First, Chastain brands himself as a church-going social conservative – meaning he continues to campaign for votes in no small measure on the basis of his moral superiority. That’s hypocritical … and we do not abide hypocrisy.
Second, this isn’t his first sex scandal. Chastain won election to his current term in 2012 despite being busted impregnating a co-worker and driving her to Charlotte, N.C. for an abortion (in his patrol car, no less). Chastain relied on county taxpayers to subsidize an extended “recovery period” for his lover. His decision to reengage in such risky behavior – after availing himself of the “Christian forgiveness” of his constituents – strikes us as exceedingly reckless and indicative of colossally poor judgment.
Third, the sheer volume – and timing – of Chastain’s illicit messages is troubling. By our calculations, he exchanged an average of thirty-six messages each day with the as-yet-unnamed woman – many of them “on weekdays during normal business hours,” as the Index-Journal reported.
That’s time Chastain should be busy “protecting and serving.”
Again, we have no dog in this fight … nor have we called on Chastain to step down from his post. That would seem to be the smart move for him to make, but that’s ultimately going to be up to the people of Laurens County.