KELLY CULBERTSON: SHERIFF’S OPPONENT SET UP SEXTING SCANDAL …
The woman at the heart of the “Sexting Sheriff” scandal in Laurens County, S.C. says she has proof that the man who exposed her illicit digital dalliance with local sheriff Ricky Chastain was working for Chastain’s opponent in this year’s GOP primary election.
Not only that, she claims she provided this evidence to the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) – which continues to probe the leak of the X-rated messages.
The woman – Greenwood, S.C. resident Kelly Culbertson – exchanged more than 6,600 messages (including hundreds of sexually explicit photo messages) with Chastain from October 2015 to April of this year.
Chastain sent her dozens of images too using the Snapchat app.
(For a look at some of the images and messages that were exchanged between the two, click here).
We broke the story of the “Sexting Sheriff” in late April – and it was quickly picked up by local media. On June 14, Laurens County GOP voters had their say – and Chastain was narrowly defeated by Don Reynolds (another candidate whose baggage this website exposed).
Since then, the drama has ratcheted up considerably. In late June, SLED confirmed it was conducting an investigation into how Chastain and Culbertson’s racy messages were leaked.
As of this writing, that investigation remains ongoing. More recently, James Hayes – the individual who confessed to obtaining the messages from Culbertson and leaking them to the media – was arrested on an unrelated charge.
According to Culbertson, Hayes was working for Reynolds. In fact, she says he was in direct communication with him (via phone and text) on the day he obtained the trove of illicit messages from her in late April.
In fact Culbertson provided us with a screenshot of a text message alleged to have been sent from Reynolds to Hayes on the Sunday afternoon he obtained the messages.
Take a look …
(Click to view)
According to Culbertson, she never agreed to meet one-on-one with Hayes. Instead, she claims he stalked an underage member of her family – and then used this person to lure Culbertson to an “ambush” meeting.
At that point, she says it was clear Hayes had been following her and her family member for some time.
“He knew things about me he only would have known if he had been following me,” she said. “And of course he knew all about me and Sheriff Chastain.”
According to Culbertson, Hayes communicated with Reynolds during his meeting with her – allegedly receiving confirmation directly from the candidate that Culbertson would receive a job with the Laurens County sheriff’s department if she turned over the incriminating messages to Hayes.
That was the alleged “carrot.” The stick?
“He threatened me and my family,” Culbertson told us. “And to further the threat he told me he could have my children taken away from me by having something planted on me.”
Culbertson said she was scared and wasn’t thinking straight.
“At that point I gave him whatever he wanted,” she said.
What Hayes wanted, she says, was a copy of the contents of her iPhone 6S – which she provided to him by allowing him to access her iCloud drive. Ironically, that’s how she later obtained the incriminating message between Hayes and Reynolds.
According to Culbertson, Hayes told her the messages he retrieved from her phone were to be used exclusively as a blackmail threat – not leaked to the press.
“He told me they were to stay private,” she said.
(Click to view)
While Hayes has confessed to leaking the messages, we’re still unsure as to exactly who provided them to us.
In early August – six weeks after Chastain’s defeat – an unmarked Greenwood County sheriff’s vehicle allegedly appeared in the driveway of Culbertson’s home in Greenwood.
Inside the car was Jarvis Reeder, a Greenwood cop who is in line to become the top deputy in Laurens County in the event Reynolds is victorious. According to Culbertson, Reeder made several inappropriate comments to her after she emerged from her home.
“He told me ‘Ricky must be gay’ because there’s no way he would be sexting me for seven months and not fucking me,” she said.
“I’d be ready to go after seven minutes,” Reeder is alleged to have told her.
Culbertson added that Reeder reiterated Reynolds’ offer to hire her in the event he was victorious in this month’s general election. Reynolds faces write-in candidate Stephane Williams – one of Chastain’s deputies – on Tuesday. Chastain has been an exceedingly vocal supporter of Williams’ candidacy – fueling rumors that he has been promised a job in the event Williams is victorious.
As for the ongoing investigation, Culberton says she has turned over all the evidence in her possession – including a back-up of the encrypted contents of her iPhone – to SLED.
She also says she took the information to a local newspaper in early June.
“The people of Laurens County need to know what kind of person Don Reynolds is,” Culbertson said. “He thought nothing of destroying my life to gain a political edge. I was collateral damage to him.”
Sources close to Reynolds’ campaign blasted Culbertson’s admission as “more naked opportunism.”
“The fact you are reading this with less than 24 hours to go before an election should tell you everything you need to know about the credibility of the allegations and the credibility of the individual making them,” one Reynolds’ supporter told us. “Kelly Culbertson will say anything to help her star-crossed lover Ricky Chastian have his revenge against Don Reynolds.”
Voting is tomorrow. Obviously we look forward to bringing our reader the results of that election – and the outcome of the SLED probe into the leaked messages.
(Banner via iStock)