One of South Carolina governor Henry McMaster’s brothers has resigned as an attorney in the Palmetto State “in lieu of discipline,” according to a pre-Thanksgiving filing submitted by the state’s supreme court.
The filing (.pdf) – which was published on November 27, 2019 – contained multiple orders and petitions from both the supreme court and the S.C. court of appeals. One of the orders was related to McMaster’s brother, George Hunter McMaster, who last August settled a civil suit related to a bizarre “forcible fondling” allegation leveled against him back in May of 2014.
According to a city of Columbia, S.C. incident report obtained exclusively by this news outlet, George McMaster forcibly fondled a male wait staff member while downing beers at The Palmetto Club, an exclusive private establishment in downtown Columbia, S.C.
What exactly is “forcible fondling?”
Well, after instructing the waiter as to how he could improve his personal attire, McMaster allegedly gave him his suspenders “since the victim was not wearing a belt,” according to the police report.
“After serving (McMaster) the last drink, (the victim) walked away to the waiter station,” the report continued.
McMaster allegedly followed him and “told him to adjust his pants.”
“The victim state(d) he adjusted his pants at which point … (McMaster) told him ‘lower,’” the report noted.
After the waiter made another adjustment to his pants, McMaster reportedly yelled “no God damnit” and grabbed the waiter’s pants – pulling them “down below his knees.”
It gets wilder …
“(McMaster) then began to tuck the victim’s shirt into his boxer shorts and that during this (move) the suspect’s hand was touching the victim’s buttocks,” the report reads. “(McMaster) then reached under his boxers and began to pull his shirt down. The victim states at this point the suspect’s had was touching the victim’s genitalia.”
The Palmetto Club in downtown Columbia, S.C. (Via: The Palmetto Club)
In addition to the waiter’s testimony, the police report cited a witness who “saw (McMaster) crouched behind the victim manipulating the victim’s pants.” This witness further reported “that the victim had a look of shock and confusion on his face.”
George McMaster was not arrested in connection with the incident until June of 2014 – after his brother had won his party’s nomination for the lieutenant governor’s office. Two years later, he pleaded guilty to assault and battery in the third degree. He avoided jail time, but was banned for life from the club. His license to practice law in South Carolina was also suspended. Last summer, McMaster’s victim – a male in his twenties – was compensated to the tune of $100,000.
According to the supreme court order published this week, McMaster petitioned the court with a “motion to resign in lieu of discipline.”
“We grant the motion,” the court ruled, noting his resignation “shall be permanent.”
“(McMaster) will never be eligible to apply, and will not be considered, for admission or reinstatement to the practice of law or for any limited practice of law in South Carolina,” the justices wrote.
According to the order, McMaster has two weeks to surrender his certificate of admission to practice law in South Carolina to the clerk of the supreme court.
Take a look …
(Via: S.C. Supreme Court)
Our view? We believe justice has been served in this case – criminally, civilly and professionally.
McMaster’s charges have been properly adjudicated, his victim has received a fair settlement and consequences have been doled out in proportion with the offense. Also, with the exception of including the order in a day-before-Thanksgiving “news dump,” it does not appear as though McMaster received preferential treatment from the court during this process.
Which is obviously the exception to the rule for well-connected defendants in South Carolina …
Anyway, our hope is everyone associated with this unfortunate incident can now move on with their lives …