Interim Greenville County, South Carolina sheriff Johnny Mack Brown – appointed in April by governor Henry McMaster to stand in for suspended sheriff Will Lewis – issued a cryptic news release late Friday about “a self-initiated and ongoing investigation involving at least one employee” of the Greenville County sheriff’s office.
According to the release, the investigation involves “activity that took place prior to the appointment of sheriff Brown.”
In other words, it focuses on activity alleged to have occurred before Lewis was suspended from office after being indicted on misconduct in office and obstruction of justice charges three months ago.
“Upon learning of this activity, sheriff Brown initiated an internal investigation into potential policy violations,” the release continued.
He also contacted the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to investigate “one allegation that was criminal in nature.”
“In order to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation, we will not elaborate on the nature of the allegation(s), other than to disclose that it involves employee misconduct,” the release added.
According to our sources, the investigation referred to in the press release revolves around a former sheriff’s office dispatcher named Marci Shetler.
We’re told Shelter was the subject of an internal investigation that was abruptly shut down by Lewis last year – but then reopened when Brown was appointed to run the office pending the outcome of the charges against Lewis.[timed-content-server show=’2018-Jan-17 00:00:00′ hide=’2018-Jul-31 00:00:00′]
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“The wife of a deputy alleged that Shetler was having an affair with her husband,” a source familiar with the situation told us. “That particular allegation turned out to be false, but the ensuing investigation revealed Shetler was having sexual contact with a total of sixteen sheriff’s office employees.”
Wait … sixteen?
Shetler’s husband – Josh Shetler – reportedly provided additional information to internal investigators about his wife’s alleged proclivities.
Lewis and former Greenville County sheriff’s office attorney Lance Sheek reportedly called each of these deputies in – one at a time – and informed them that they were not going to be fired but that they should schedule an appointment with the doctor to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
Why didn’t Lewis pursue the investigation any further?
“We are not going to be the morality police,” the disgraced sheriff allegedly told one of his deputies.
Other sources have disputed the breadth of the Shetler investigation, telling us less than a dozen employees – and only one or two deputies – were involved. These sources say the investigation centers around “sexual pictures” exchanged between dispatchers.
“It’s not that big of a case,” one source told us.
Guess we will find out soon …
In the meantime, Lewis continues to negotiate with prosecutors over a possible plea deal in his case, which dominated headlines in the socially conservative Upstate for months last year.
The misconduct and obstruction charges against Lewis were filed in connection with SLED’s probe of sexual assault allegations against the 43-year-old sheriff. Both of those stories broke exclusively on this news site (here and here), incidentally. We were also the first media outlet to report on the details of Lewis’ alleged obstruction in response to SLED’s investigation of the unresolved sexual assault allegations.
Lewis’ case is being handled by S.C. sixteenth circuit solicitor Kevin Brackett, who was given the file after the solicitor originally tasked to oversee the case found himself at the heart of an unrelated scandal.
We called on Lewis to step down last October after it was revealed he spent tax dollars in the furtherance of an affair – and lied about it.
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