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Thornblade Saga: Could SLED Join Investigation?

Latest on Palmetto Upstate soap opera …



Agents of the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) could soon be called upon to join an investigation into a myriad of allegations involving the exclusive Thornblade neighborhood and its scandal-scarred country club, multiple law enforcement and prosecutorial sources tell this news outlet.

The ongoing drama tied to this upscale Upstate neighborhood – which was first reported by this news outlet a week ago – has been dominating discussions in the greater Greenville, S.C. area.

It has also prompted an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) – although it is not initially clear which component of the multi-faceted situation the feds are focused on.

To recap: We have been looking into three distinct Thornblade-related scandals: 1) Allegations of embezzlement involving the neighborhood golf club, 2) allegations of a “prostitution ring” (or “sex ring”) involving several Thornblade residents, and 3) allegations involving an “athletics team at a government-run high school in nearby Taylors, S.C.” which is said to be somehow connected to the prostitution/ sex ring accusations.

There are also blackmail allegations linked to the rumored prostitution/ sex ring.

Heady stuff, in other words …

Since our first story on Thornblade ran last week, we have been bombarded with tips related to these various allegations. According to our sources, most of the initial speculation has centered around Eastside High School in Taylors, S.C. – and perhaps one other nearby school in the South Carolina government-run system.

(Click to view)

(Via: Eastside High School)

More specifically, we have been informed that investigators are looking to question a former athletics coach at Eastside over his alleged proximity to some of the “central figures” in this unspooling drama.

According to our sources, one of these “central figures” is said to be involved in a forthcoming family court matter – although no additional details about that case were provided.

Our Upstate sources – which include law enforcement officers, prosecutors, attorneys and private investigators, among others – have conveyed a remarkably consistent narrative about what allegedly transpired behind the scenes in this exclusive enclave. Meanwhile, we have spoken with numerous Thornblade residents who have offered their own “intimate” insights into the situation.

And while there are disagreements over the size and scope of the “entanglements,” the gist of the narrative is basically the same.

For now, we are continuing to vet all of the information coming in … and we hope to have additional information to report to our readers soon.

In the meantime, a disclaimer … as we have been investigating these reports, we have been cautioned (repeatedly) that controversial behavior is not necessarily the same as criminal behavior. And that consensual sex acts between individuals of consenting age are, well, “consensual.”

We could not agree more …

This news outlet has leaned consistently libertarian in its coverage, and in addition to supporting all manner of consensual sex we have gone so far in the past as to editorialize on behalf of decriminalizing prostitution.

Furthermore, we have argued (controversially) that school officials caught having sex with students who have attained the age of consent should not be charged criminally. Should they lose their jobs? Absolutely. Be permanently banned from teaching and/ or coaching? Probably.

But criminally charged? No … at least not in our view.

Additionally, our news outlet has been sharply critical in the past of law enforcement investigations conducted into allegedly “lewd and lascivious” conduct.

Having said all of that, there are criminal statutes on the books which protect minors in this state from being exploited – and prevent adults from contributing to their “delinquency.” According to our sources, the Thornblade saga has elements that could potentially fall under both of these categories.

Our sources also tell us not all of the sex acts currently under the law enforcement microscope were necessarily consensual – which would be criminal under any circumstances. Same goes for any attempt at blackmail.

So far, there has been no official acknowledgement of the seismic, sexually charged side of this investigation by anyone in law enforcement. As we previously reported, Thornblade club officials have acknowledged the existence of serious financial irregularities related to the operations of the facility – including alleged credit card fraud that was first reported earlier this year to the Greenville county sheriff’s office.

These allegations have since received mainstream media coverage courtesy of The Greenville News.

But the club has declined to comment on the rest of the story …

Similarly, it is unclear whether the USSS investigation into Thornblade is tied to the alleged credit card fraud or some of the more illicit, sexually charged allegations. Given the broad investigatory powers this federal agency possesses when it comes to all manner of cybercrime – there is literally no telling what facets of this saga it could be probing.

As for SLED, as of Thursday afternoon the statewide agency had not received a formal request from any local or federal law enforcement agency or subdivision of the state to assist in any investigation related to Thornblade, per spokesman Tommy Crosby.

We will be sure to let our readers know if that changes …




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