South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster recently suspended Kerry “Trent” Kinard, a Bamberg county councilman arrested on multiple child sex charges more than a month ago.
McMaster issued an executive order suspending Kinard, 49, after a grand jury formally indicted on multiple charges last week.
Because his term in office ends this year, Kinard will likely not return to his position on Bamberg County Council.
On September 25, 2020, Kinard was charged with first-degree assault and battery, first degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor, criminal solicitation of a minor (two counts) and dissemination of obscene material (two counts).
He was indicted on all charges but one — first degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor. In addition, he was indicted on one count of lewd act on a child.
Per South Carolina law, the governor may suspend an elected official who has been indicted by a grand jury “for a crime involving moral turpitude.”
In late October, a judge set Kinard’s bond at $75,000, under the condition he will be banned from Bamberg County for 90 days, wear an ankle monitor, and have no contact with his alleged victims.
It is rare for a judge to ban a defendant from the same county which holds jurisdiction.
Kinard posted bond and was released from jail on October 28.
Kinard is being represented by author, CNN commentator and former state representative Bakari Sellers, who argued in court that his client is not a danger to himself or others after he completed a mental health evaluation
Kinard kept his Bamberg County Council position and its benefits – including health insurance – for more than a month after he was charged. He was asked to step down in the immediate aftermath of his arrest by state representative Justin Bamberg – but apparently refused to do so.
Kinard is a former S.C. Highway Patrol (SCHP) trooper who was first elected to his seat in 2012. He lost his reelection bid in the 2020 Democratic primary to challenger Phil Myers, however.
Kinard is married to Bridget Kinard, a member of Bamberg city council.
The charges against Kinard were filed one year after the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) was asked to investigate an altercation involving the councilman and Eddie “Brad” Hudson – a youth pastor at the First Baptist Church of Bamberg, S.C.
Kinard and Hudson were involved in a physical confrontation on September 3, 2019 following a county council meeting at which Kinard claimed Hudson challenged him to a fight.
According to an award nomination, Kinard was very active in the Bamberg community. He was the PTO President of an elementary school, a youth football and basketball coach, and worked at the University of South Carolina as a sports information director.
Probable cause affidavits accompanying the indictments against Kinard detailed graphic child sex crimes dating back to 2008 – as well as crimes that allegedly took place as recently as September.
In the affidavit, police accuse Kinard of:
- displaying and presenting pornography to a juvenile male between 2008-2019, multiple times a year
- talking to a juvenile male for the purpose of sex between 2017-2018
- displaying and presenting porn to a juvenile female while at his residence in September 2020
- attempting vaginal intercourse with a girl who was between 14-16 years old between the years of 2016 and 2017
- talking to a juvenile female for the purpose of sex in September 2020
- touching the private parts of a juvenile female in September 2020
All crimes allegedly occurred in Bamberg county.
And more charges could be coming.
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