South Carolina senator-elect Deon Tedder is the focus of an ongoing criminal investigation into allegations of “forcible rape” involving an unnamed female victim, according to a heavily redacted incident report obtained by this media outlet under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
The alleged rape occurred on April 27, 2022 at The Row – an apartment complex located on Shop Road in downtown Columbia, S.C. Sources familiar with the incident say the alleged victim met Tedder at a legislative event and was sexually assaulted not long thereafter. The rape allegation was “immediately reported to authorities” and the victim consented to the collection of a rape kit, our sources noted.
The incident report related to the allegation contained three pages of “additional narrative” related to the assault – every word of which was redacted. Only a line related to the “initial narrative” was left visible in the report – and even that was partially redacted.
“The victim stated she was touched inappropriately through clothes and later [redacted],” the line from the initial narrative noted.
Take a look …
(Click to view)
(Via: City of Columbia)
Most importantly, the suspect’s name, race, sex and age were all redacted.
So … how do we know the incident report is tied to Tedder?
Aside from the alleged assault occurring on the precise date provided by our sources, the FOIA from our media outlet specifically sought “any and all incident reports including any and all related investigatory materials … (listing) Deon Terrell Tedder.” For accuracy’s sake, our research director Jenn Wood included Tedder’s date of birth on the FOIA to ensure there were no mismatches.
Sources close to the investigation also confirmed the incident report provided in response to our FOIA was connected to the allegation against Tedder. Furthermore, we have confirmed from those same sources that the investigation into the allegations is ongoing.
In fact, the city of Columbia referenced this ongoing investigation in explaining why it redacted Tedder’s name from the copy of the report it provided us.
“Our office has determined that releasing the name of the subject could possibly ‘interfere with the law enforcement proceedings’ and possibly affect the victim’s due process as well as the subject’s,” a statement from the city’s FOIA office noted. “At this time, the subject’s name and specific details of the incident will remain redacted as the law enforcement proceedings continue.”
Prosecutorial authority in this case would ordinarily fall to S.C. fifth circuit solicitor Byron Gipson, however according to our sources he referred the case to the office of attorney general Alan Wilson about a month after the alleged incident took place.
Senator-elect Tedder did not immediately respond to our request for comment. Chris Kinney, an attorney reportedly representing the victim, also did not immediately respond to our request for comment. A spokeswoman for the Columbia police department responded to our inquiries, but said she was “unable to comment specifically at this time.” A spokesman for the attorney general declined to comment, but provided us with copies of a May 20, 2022 referral letter (.pdf) from solicitor Gipson – and a May 24, 2022 response letter (.pdf) from deputy attorney general Don Zelenka accepting the case.
“We had to redact the names and cannot comment further,” spokesman Robert Kittle said.
Sources familiar with both letters confirmed they were tied to the Tedder investigation, however.
(Click to view)
Tedder, 33, is a native of Durham, North Carolina. An attorney, he resides in North Charleston, S.C. Tedder graduated from S.C. State University in 2012 he received his law degree from the University of South Carolina in 2015. Tedder was single at the time of the alleged rape but was married in June of this year.
Tedder is no stranger to our audience. A former colleague of the late David Aylor – the prominent Charleston, S.C. attorney who died of an apparently inadvertent fentanyl overdose in January – he was intimately involved in one of our reports alleging judicial corruption by S.C. circuit court judge Bentley Price.
Aylor’s cell phone, incidentally, remains in the hands of federal authorities who are reportedly pursuing “multiple lines of inquiry.”
Tedder narrowly defeated fellow state representative Wendell Gilliard in a September primary runoff election to fill the S.C. Senate District 42 seat vacated in May by Marlon Kimpson, who took a trade post in the administration of U.S. president Joe Biden.
After besting Gilliard by a mere eleven votes (out of nearly 4,300 ballots cast), Tedder trounced Republican nominee Rosa Kay this Tuesday (November 7, 2023) to win the staunchly Democratic seat. Upon his swearing-in, Tedder will become the youngest member of the S.C. Senate.
Multiple sources close to Tedder described the allegation as being completely out of keeping with his character.
“I don’t believe that for two seconds,” one of Tedder’s friends told us.
Sources familiar with the allegation attested to its veracity, however – as well as the credibility of the victim. They further indicated there was much more to the story – including allegations of corruption involving Tedder’s legislative allies in an effort to pervert the course of justice.
To be clear: Tedder has not been charged in connection with this investigation. Assuming he were to eventually be charged, he would obviously be considered innocent until proven guilty by our criminal justice system.
We will keep our audience updated on the status of this inquiry – including any responses we receive from those individuals referenced in our reporting. We also have an open microphone policy giving those who wish to address our audience directly the opportunity to do so.
THE REPORT …
(Via: City of Columbia)
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 (soon to be eight) children.
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