TWISTS AND TURNS IN RURAL LAW ENFORCEMENT DRAMA …
Yesterday we reported exclusively on a S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) investigation into the release of “sext” messages between Laurens county, S.C. sheriff Ricky Chastain and an as-yet-unnamed woman who is not his wife.
From October 2015 to April of this year, Chastain and the woman exchanged more that 6,600 text messages – including hundreds of sexually-explicit photo messages. Chastain is also alleged to have sent the woman nude photos via Snapchat.
The messages – exposed first on FITS back in April – contributed to Chastain’s defeat in a June “Republican” primary election against Donald E. Reynolds.
Of course Chastain had all sorts of baggage even before his “sexting” scandal broke …
Anyway, SLED’s investigation comes as Chastain supporters are gathering signatures to place one of his allies – Laurens police officer David Brewer – on the November ballot as a petition candidate. In fact we’ve heard reports that some of Chastain’s men have been gathering signatures while on duty.
According to our sources, Brewer’s petition candidacy is an attempt to keep Chastain and his loyal deputies employed by taxpayers after the November election.
How will the SLED investigation impact this ongoing political drama? It’s not clear.
Based on everything we’ve seen, the investigation isn’t focused on Chastain’s conduct – it’s focused on the release of the messages.
After our story broke, reporter Damian Dominguez of The Greenwood Index Journal posted a follow-up report with additional details of the probe.
According to his story, SLED’s investigation was initiated at the request of the Greenwood, S.C. police department.
Dominguez also quoted an aspiring Laurens county officeholder – coroner candidate James Hayes – as claiming responsibility for leaking the incriminating messages.
His motive? Exposing Chastain in advance of the upcoming election.
According to Hayes, a “mutual friend” set up a meeting between him and the woman.
“We met her at the slushie stand beside Lander College,” Hayes told the paper. “I said, ‘How true is this? That’s all I want to know, how true?’ and she said, ‘Very true, look right here.'”
At their meeting, Hayes claims the woman showed him how he could download all of the messages onto his phone – and consented to him doing so.
Now the woman – who lost her job at an adult bookstore in Greenwood in the aftermath of the scandal – is alleging that she has been blackmailed, according to Hayes.
Crazy stuff, huh?
Sources familiar with the situation say the woman may have met with more than one source regarding the information. In fact, we’re told that investigators are looking into surveillance video that reportedly shows her handing a flash drive to an unidentified male.
Hayes is not the man on the video, we’re told – although he did allegedly made multiple calls to the adult bookstore where the woman worked on the day this website broke the story back in April.
Additionally, we’re reliably informed that Chastain’s extensive sexting with the Greenwood woman isn’t his only “digital flame.”
Other women reportedly have evidence of similar exchanges with the rural law man.