Earl Morell Jr., 54, was charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor.
According to the arrest warrant, Morell sexually assaulted a girl under the age of 16 while she was asleep between March 18 and March 21.
Specifically, he “repeatedly groped her vaginal area, subsequently penetrating her with his penis,” while she was sleeping, the arrest warrant said.
SLED agents investigated the incident at the request of the Allendale Police Department.
Morell was booked at the Allendale County Detention Center.
The 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office will prosecute the case.
Morell is not the first Allendale elected official who was arrested in recent years. In 2019, former town administrator Harold Dewayne Ennis Jr. and administrative assistant Cheryl Mole pleaded guilty to stealing federal funds.
Morell is at least the third elected official in South Carolina who was arrested on child sex charges in the last nine months.
In September, former Bamberg County councilman Kerry “Trent” Kinard was arrested and charged with multiple child sex crimes. Kinard is facing 10 child sex crimes charges in Bamberg and Jasper counties, as well as two federal gun charges.
In March, former Florence County School District Five Chairman Christopher Garrett Marsh was arrested on multiple child sex charges.
According to South Carolina law, Morell doesn’t have to resign from his position as a town councilman until he’s indicted.
Morell faces up to 20 years in prison for the charge.
This story will be updated.
WANNA SOUND OFF?
Got something you’d like to say in response to one of our articles? Or an issue you’d like to proactively address? We have an open microphone policy here at FITSNews! Submit your letter to the editor (or guest column) via email HERE. Got a tip for a story? CLICK HERE. Got a technical question or a glitch to report? CLICK HERE.