MEET THE WOMAN AT THE HEART OF THE SCANDAL …
Back in April, our website dropped a bombshell on Laurens County, S.C. Local sheriff Ricky Chastain – no stranger to engaging in explicit liaisons on taxpayer time – was embroiled in a sexting scandal with a young woman in a neighboring town.
Chastain and the woman had exchanged more than 6,600 messages (including hundreds of sexually explicit photo messages) from October 2015 to April of this year.
The scandal – which was quickly picked up by the local press – cost Chastain dearly. He was defeated in a June GOP primary election against his rival, Republican Don Reynolds (a candidate who is carrying some serious baggage of his own).
Meanwhile the woman has seen her life turned upside down. She’s lost her job, been subjected to all sorts of threats and recently had her car vandalized.
And all that was before her name landed in the press as the woman Chastain was sexting.
As scandalous as the “sexting sheriff” messages may be, the real scandal could very well wind up being how these explicit exchanges found their way into the public discourse.
In late June, the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) confirmed it was conducting an investigation into how the racy messages were leaked.
As of this writing (November 1, 2016), that investigation remains open. In fact according to our sources it has ramped up dramatically over the last few weeks.
More recently, James Hayes – the individual who confessed to leaking the woman messages – was arrested on an unrelated charge. We’re told his status is very much a part of the ongoing drama.
Meanwhile, against this backdrop of uncertainty, there’s an election looming – one that has grown increasingly contentious as the calendar has advanced toward November 8.
Over the last few months Chastain has been campaigning furiously in an effort to get one of his deputies – Stephane Williams – elected as a write-in candidate over Reynolds in next week’s general election.
To hear Chastain supporters tell it, the SLED probe is focused squarely on Reynolds’ alleged involvement in the “sexting” smear campaign.
“Don supposedly sent (Hayes) over to a woman’s house that was sexting Ricky Chastain to threaten her and offer her a job if he won,” one source told us.
Sources close to the investigation tell us the woman has confirmed these alleged threats – as well as the alleged promise of a job offer – in her interviews with SLED.
The woman also reportedly told investigators she was paid a visit by Greenwood law enforcement officer Jarvis Reeder, who has been tapped to become chief deputy in Laurens county in the event Reynolds is elected sheriff next week.
SLED declined to confirm whether its investigation was focused on either Reynolds or Reeder.
“That would be getting into specific details about which (it) would be inappropriate to comment while our work is underway,” an agency spokesman told us.
Meanwhile, the woman did not immediately respond to our request for comment.
This website has been instrumental in exposing Chastain’s various indiscretions over the years – although we’ve called Reynolds out when we felt he deserved it, too. Obviously we’ll be keeping a close eye on the status of SLED’s investigation as it moves forward both before – and after – next week’s voting.
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