A jury in Horry County, South Carolina took roughly an hour to deliver its verdict in the high-profile child sex case of former North Myrtle Beach, S.C. official Harold Worley Jr.
The verdict? Not guilty.
Worley – the son of Horry County, South Carolina councilman Harold Worley – was staring down charges of criminal sexual conduct, criminal solicitation of a minor and the unlawful neglect of a child. Had he been convicted, he could have faced more than 25 years behind bars.
Stakes in the case were high, too, as days ago Worley Jr. rejected a pre-trial plea deal from the office of S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson that would have had him cop to three counts of cruelty to children. In exchange, no jail time would have been sought by Wilson’s office and prosecutors would have made a recommendation for probation (and mandatory enrollment in a parenting class).
Worley Jr. declined, rolled the dice … and won.
Aside from his own family connections, Worley Jr.’s case drew considerable media attention due to the fact his ex-wife – Meredith Bauer – is married to former S.C. lieutenant governor André Bauer (with the couple expecting their first child together this year).
André Bauer and Worley Jr. sparred on social media over the case, too.[su_dominion_video_scb]
The verdict was announced after two days of testimony and evidence – including closed door testimony from the alleged minor victims. It was the first time they had seen Worley Jr. – their father – in more than two years.
After the verdict was read in court, S.C. circuit court judge Robert Hood – who was presiding over the trial – told Worley Jr. he was “free to go.”
What happens now? Good question … but our guess is we have not seen the end of the family court component of this ongoing soap opera.
So stay tuned …
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(VIA: GETTY IMAGES)