A South Carolina state representative who lists himself as a foster parent and a “ruling elder” at his local church has been indicted by a grand jury in Newberry County.
State representative Rick Martin of Newberry was charged with misconduct in office and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
According to a probable cause affidavit accompanying warrants for Martin’s arrest, between January 1, 2019 and January 31, 2019, Martin “did knowingly and willfully encourage, aid or cause a minor … to violate the law by providing her with alcohol to drink while less than 21 years of age.”
The victim in the case was fifteen years old at the time, according to the affidavit.
Martin, 54, has also been charged with misconduct in office after he allegedly “use(d) his position to try to influence an investigation” by the S.C. Department of Social Services (SCDSS).
Martin’s alleged misconduct in office took place between December 4, 2019 and January 31, 2020, according to a probable cause affidavit accompanying a warrant for his arrest.
According to a news release from the office of S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson, Martin is scheduled to be arraigned next Tuesday (December 14, 2021) at 2:00 p.m. EST before circuit court judge G.D. Morgan Jr.
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By statute, Martin is automatically suspended from office pending the outcome of the charges filed against him. An announcement of his suspension is likely to be made by the office of governor Henry McMaster later today.
Martin’s case was investigated by agents of the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED). It will be prosecuted by Wilson’s office.
As with anyone accused of committing any crime, Martin is considered innocent until proven guilty by our criminal justice system – or until such time as he may wish to enter some form of allocution in connection with a plea agreement with prosecutors related to any of the charges filed against him.
Martin was elected to the S.C. State House in November 2016, handily winning the GOP primary and running unopposed in the general election that year. He is currently in his third term in the S.C. House of Representatives, having won reelection in 2018 and 2020.
This news outlet reached out to Martin for comment but did not immediately receive a reply. We also reached out to the office of S.C. speaker Jay Lucas for his response to reports that House leaders had been previously made aware of some of the allegations against the GOP lawmaker.
Lucas’ office issued a letter (.pdf) shortly after the indictments were handed down informing Martin that he was suspended from the chamber “effective immediately.”
“This suspension shall remain in effect … until the matters addressed in these indictments are resolved and either you are reinstated to the House of Representatives or the seat is declared vacant,” the letter noted.
THE INDICTMENTS …
(Via: S.C. Attorney General’s Office)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, he has LOTS of hats (including that Chicago Blackhawks’ lid pictured above).
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