A South Carolina Sheriff has been indicted by a Grand Jury after accusations that he used inmates for personal gain and even allowed them to live and travel outside the prison.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced on Tuesday that a State Grand Jury returned indictments against Chesterfield County Sheriff Sanford "Sam" Parker, Jr.
He has been charged with four counts of Misconduct in Office and two counts of Furnishing Contraband to Inmates.
Parker is scheduled to be in court Friday morning.
Gov. Nikki Haley has suspended Parker from his duties as sheriff of Chesterfield County.
If found guilty, the misconduct offense is punishable by up to ten years in prison. The contraband offense is punishable up to ten years in prison and/or a fine at the discretion of the court.
One Chesterfield county resident says "it's kinda upsetting to hear. when you got somebody like that in the community that everybody respects to do their job, and you have a lot of faith in him - to turn up and hear something like this happens - has a lot of people down."
Larry Knox, a general practice attorney, says people need to remember "until proven guilty, you're innocent."
Knox says he know Parker. "Sheriff Parker is a friend of mine. I've campaigned for him when he first ran. I think he's a principled person."
According to the indictment, Parker reportedly allowed convicted inmates to live outside jail, go shopping, dine in public restaurants and wear civilian clothing in exchange for performing work on his house and personal property.
Inmates were also reportedly allowed to assist with special events and perform work within the Sheriff's Department.
Inmate Michael Lee, a convicted arsonist, was allowed to live, eat and shop outside of the detention center, according to the indictment.
In return, Lee, who was allowed to buy a grill, prepared meals for the sheriff and his family at the sheriff's home.
Inmate William Skipper, a convicted drug trafficker, was allowed to go out to eat in North and South Carolina, have unsupervised visits with female visitors and go out on the lake with the sheriff and his family, according to the indictment.
The case will be prosecuted by the Attorney General's Office.
Attorney General Wilson stressed all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty in a court of law.
Tuesday, May 21 2013 12:16 AM EDT2013-05-21 04:16:00 GMT
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