Crime & Courts

Molly Vick: Surviving South Carolina’s ‘Justice’ System

Standing up against the status quo …

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Over the years, our media outlet has advocated passionately for the reform of South Carolina’s notoriously unfair “justice” system. For those of you unfamiliar with this ongoing institutional racket, the Palmetto State is one of only two states in America in which powerful lawyer-legislators picks judges. As we have seen in far too many cases, the politicians picking the judges turn around and reap the rewards of this influence by receiving preferential treatment on behalf of their clients. 

As this news outlet has consistently noted, the current system has enabled institutional corruption, shredded the rights of victims, empowered violent criminals and materially eroded public safety. It has also turned the judiciary into little more than a political annex of the legislature … a problem with is getting worse, not better.

The corruption has become beyond brazen in recent years … with increasingly deadly outcomes.

It’s one thing to talk about this problem, though. To cover it – as we do – from a media perspective. It’s something else entirely to have lived it. To have had such a debilitating and dehumanizing experience pushed on you against your will – not only during your immediate victimization but then afterward, when you find yourself re-victimized by the very courts that were established to protect you.

Recently, I sat down with Molly Vick – a survivor of South Carolina’s “justice” system.

(Click to View)

Molly Vick (FITSNews)

We actually knew about Molly’s case before we ever met her – having covered it extensively at the time it was “resolved” by the court system in September 2022. It was her case that actually helped light the fuse on the judicial reform movement – sparking outrage over the way she and several other female victims were treated but also outrage over how the powerful politicians overseeing the system responded to the injustice they endured.

“It’s just extremely dehumanizing to be treated the way that I was treated by him,” Vick told me. “But standing up for myself when I’ve never been so scared in my life … and I still tried to advocate for myself? I pleaded with them. I said, somebody else is gonna get really, really hurt – or worse. Please listen to me, please do something – this is not okay.”

Vick said she pressed on despite the institutional resistance she encountered not just for her own protection but because “this is our community – it’s women in general, it’s people in general.”

When embattled S.C. circuit court judge Bentley Price at long last imposed his sentence against serial abuser Casey Lee Combs, Vick felt for a fleeting moment as though justice had been done.

“We were in court and the judge, Bentley Price, looked at (Combs) and said ‘I’m gonna give you the full fourteen-year sentence,'” Vick recalled. “And there was just overwhelming emotion. Like, oh, wow … Thank God, right? Like, wait … did we hear that? Right. Thank God. And one of the other victims was visibly emotional and I got emotional because, I mean, that’s a lot of energy, right?”

But then came the gut punch … a blow far worse than any Combs had ever dealt her.

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“He looked over and he said ‘suspended to a five-year probation sentence,'” Vick recalled.

Vick said the shock of the sentence – the realization her abuser would be walking free – forced her to spend “a few months keeping to myself a lot,” referring to the injustice she experienced as “an initial, absolute shock to my mental health.”

To be clear: It wasn’t just her and her fellow victims who had pushed for Combs to spend extensive time behind bars. The office of S.C. ninth circuit solicitor Scarlett Wilson also recommended a lengthy stint for him in the S.C. Department of Corrections (SCDC).

Price ignored them all … part of an ongoing pattern he has shown of accommodating criminals at the expense of their victims and the expense of public safety.

As I have previously noted, Price – who is up for reelection in 2024 – is “the poster judge for the Palmetto State’s broken judicial system.” 

We have written on numerous occasions in the past about his justice-defying shenanigans – yet he continues to wreak havoc with his rulings.

Vick rallied, though. And not only did she rally to the point of being ready, able and willing to share her story with us, she rallied to the point of launching a brand new no-holds-barred form of advocacy aimed at fixing the broken system that re-victimized her – and so many others like her.

“Me being here right now is a testament to my commitment to making something change,” Vick said.

To watch our full interview with Molly, click here …

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Will Folks (Dylan Nolan)

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 (soon to be eight) children.

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6 comments

NotFromHamptonCounty Top fan October 10, 2023 at 6:07 am

Thank you for staying on top of this issue.

Wonder who is jockeying for Judge Price’s Seat?

Reply
Tom October 10, 2023 at 11:49 am

All this and you and your Republican friends continue to support a serial abuser of women as President of the United States. How can you look in the mirror every morning and not retch over the hypocrisy? There are more assaults on women by men than ever, and one of our major parties is dominated by a man who thinks he should be able to assault women because he is a star; a man who was just found by a jury to have sexually assaulted a woman and has numerous complaints by other women that he molesting them; a man who admitted publicly to groping women without their consent and then refused to apologize for that when given the chance, saying for “better or worse” they let you get away with it. You have ignored all of that.

Of course, a lot of judges don’t take men assaulting women seriously. Why would they? When the Republican party running our state (your party and the party of Donald Trump) does not take the rights of women seriously and has a get over it little lady mentality.

Reply
John October 10, 2023 at 9:49 pm

Dear Tom,

You’re an asshat.

Reply
jbl1a October 11, 2023 at 10:18 am

Dear Tom, I agree with John

Reply
Molly Vick Top fan October 11, 2023 at 10:10 pm

Did Tom just call me a little lady? Also, who is Tom? Haha.

Reply
Ginger Dunn Top fan October 12, 2023 at 9:46 pm

Thank you, Molly Vick for your courage in speaking out and to FITSNEWS for covering the story.

One of the minor details that caught my attention was your description of Combs’ sentencing phase when Judge Bentley Price stated he was “gonna give [Combs] the full fourteen year sentence,” and then added “suspended to a five year probation sentence.”

I’m sorry that happened to you. There’s no excuse for such intentional cruelty and no excuse for allowing such an intentionally cruel individual to abuse the power entrusted by We the People.

I too have experienced the same manner of “sucker punch” ruling before a South Carolina judge–more than once, in fact. I can confirm that Judge Price’s pause in speech during sentencing was not random.

When judges in different courts and different circuits throughout South Carolina act in ways that seem to serve no other purpose than inflicting additional trauma on the vulnerable party in litigation, one must ask, ‘What is the common thread?’ What is the mechanism that would identify such cruel individuals and why would they then be quickly promoted to positions of power with no checks and balances and near absolute immunity?

Thank you again for your courage, Molly!

Reply

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