Thousands of sexually explicit text messages between Laurens County Sheriff Ricky Chastain and a woman we are choosing not to identify, were released by candidate for Laurens County coroner James Hayes.
Hayes says he heard a rumor about the sheriff’s relationship with the woman in April, and arraigned a meeting with her through a mutual friend.
At the meeting, Hayes says the woman showed him the texts and then entered her Apple ID into his phone after he had factory reset it, so that all of the information off the iCloud would appear on his phone.
Hayes says she then taught him how to use the program iExchange to upload all of the information into a PDF. Hayes then released the information to several media outlets in the Upstate.
Hayes says he never pressured or threatened the woman to give him the information.
Those files included around 6,600 text messages between Sheriff Chastain and the woman. Including texts about meeting up, wanting to engage in sexual relations at the Sheriff’s Office, texts about pictures of the Sheriff that he had sent on Snapchat, and dozens of sexually explicit or naked photos of the woman.
On June 6th, the Greenwood Police Department filed a report stating that the way Hayes received the texts were criminal and illegal. Greenwood Police turned that complaint over to SLED, who is now investigating.
SLED interviewed Hayes today. Hayes said that there was no criminal wrong-doing in his actions, because the woman gave him the information along with knowing his intentions for the information. Hayes also says he never threatened or pressured the woman into giving up the information.
Chastain tells 7News he’s not allowed to speak about the text messages because it is under investigation.