LYMAN, SC (WSPA) – We’re learning more about a Lyman Town council member accused of breaking the law.
Paul Rick Hellams was indicted by a grand jury on charges of Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult.
“That accusation is absolutely not true,” said Hellman’s attorney Stephen Denton. “He’s put in a plea of not guilty.”
Renee Chapman is a few months into opening a business in Lyman, and said she does not believe the accusations.
“He was one of the first people that I met come in – very big smile. First thing he always says is ‘what can the town of Lyman do for you?’,” said Chapman. “Knowing the other side of the story, I feel that the whole situation is misdirected. I feel that it’s false.”
Councilman Hellams tells 7 News that the so-called “vulnerable adult” was a man he was in a relationship with for years and who Hellams says he took care of before the man died this year.
“You can imagine it’s been devastating for him [Hellams] and his family,” said Denton. “Especially with [him] taking care of somebody and false accusations made against him.”
Lyman Mayor Larry Chappell said that he consulted with the town attorney and that Hellams can still serve on town council because he is accused, not convicted. If he were to be convicted he would be removed from office.
“The charges have nothing – absolutely nothing to do with him serving the public that he serves as councilman,” said Denton.
As a member of that public, Chapman agrees.
“To me that was a private family matter,” she said. “Matther of fact, it shows he was booked in today [Friday]. Hours later he’s still out in the town helping people, doing his job.”
Hellam’s attorney says a trial date has not been set yet.
An agent with the State Law Enforcement Division arrested Hellams Friday morning. He was released on a $20,000 personal recognizance bond.