At first, it was funny. Then it got a little bit scary. Now? It’s just sad.
We’re referring to the ongoing #PeepGate case of Kevin Parker, son of former South Carolina state lawmaker Steve Parker.
Four months ago, the 34-year-old Boiling Springs, S.C. native pleaded guilty to two counts of voyeurism and one count of impersonating a law enforcement officer in Spartanburg County, S.C. Parker’s plea stemmed from a 2015 incident in which he was busted installing a hidden video recording device in the women’s bathroom at Delaney’s Irish Pub on Morgan Square in downtown Spartanburg, S.C. After a customer noticed the camera and attempted to bring it to the attention of the pub manager, Parker presented a fake police badge, grabbed the device (which he claimed was “evidence”) and fled the scene. Police later arrested him with the fake badge and video recorder on a street near the pub.
Parker avoided jail time in connection with his plea – despite a history of disturbing behavior on his part.
In one previous incident he was caught exposing himself and masturbating in front of female college students – in another series of incidents he actually stalked them, broke into their dorm rooms and touched them as they slept.
Parker pleaded guilty but mentally ill and received probation instead of prison time for those offenses – which occurred while his father was representing S.C. district 37 (map) in the State House of Representatives. He also was able to keep his name off of the state’s sex offender registry.
It sure pays to be connected, right?
This year, however, Parker was forced to register as a sex offender. And while he was able to stay out of jail a second time, he was sentenced to six months of house arrest.
Apparently he couldn’t make it that long …
Parker was arrested on Friday by Spartanburg County sheriff’s deputies and charged with violating his home detention. As of this writing, he remains incarcerated at the county’s detention center.
(Click to view)
It’s not immediately clear what Parker did to violate the conditions of his home detention, but based on prior history we suspect we’ll hear some sort of justification from his father.
Steve Parker has repeatedly sought to rationalize or excuse his son’s troubling behavior. In response to one of the indecent exposure charges against him, the elder Parker invoked the There’s Something About Mary defense – claiming his son was “peeing in the bushes.” In response to a later incident he blamed his son’s behavior on the impact of concussions he allegedly sustained during his high school athletic career.
“After the doctors explained some of the physical issues with concussions, it just verified our faith in our son,” he told The Spartanburg Herald Journal.
Again, we completely understand Parker’s desire to put the best construction on his son’s dilemma – and to shield his child from the consequences of his actions.
But as we noted in our prior coverage, “this desire must be balanced with the interest of public safety – and with the liberties of those women who have been targeted by Kevin Parker.”
We didn’t think that balance was struck by the ruling earlier this year … and we weren’t the only ones who thought so.
According to a poll published four months ago, 92 percent of our readers said they thought Parker should have received jail time for his latest crime. Five percent disagreed, while three percent were unsure.
Years ago we’d have probably written some pithy, dismissive comment about the Parkers to conclude an article like this … perhaps even referenced how the elder Parker was a terrible lawmaker who consistently voted against the best interests of citizens and taxpayers during his brief tenure in Columbia, S.C.
Such statements are neither appropriate nor relevant now.
Today? We just want this family to get the help they need … and for local law enforcement to continue keeping a close eye on the situation in the interim.
WANNA SOUND OFF?
Got something you’d like to say in response to one of our stories? Please feel free to submit your own guest column or letter to the editor via-email HERE. Got a tip for us? CLICK HERE. Got a technical question? CLICK HERE. Want to support what we’re doing? SUBSCRIBE HERE.
Banner via iStock