Pickens Co. Trustees gave drugs, performed sex acts on minor on work detail, says lawsuit

Pickens County parents have filed a lawsuit against Pickens County, Duke Energy, and the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office claiming that their son was sexually assaulted and given drugs by county inmates.

The lawsuit filed last Monday claims that earlier this year state trustees were hired by Pickens County to do maintenance work at Mile Creek Park in Six Mile. The lawsuit also claims that a Pickens County teens were hired to do maintenance work as well at the park. The parents claim that they were not aware that their 16-year-old would be working alongside inmates.

Trustees are low level offenders who are often given jobs to help earn credit off their sentences.

The lawsuit claims that the inmates were not supervised, and roaming near young children who were at the park. The lawsuit goes on to allege that the inmates would be so unsupervised that they would be using drugs and alcohol and would coerce other workers who were minors into consensual sex acts.

Parents of the 16-year-old made him quit the job after they realized he was working alongside inmates.

Those parents also filed a police report with the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office in September, stating that the trustee would not leave their son alone, even traveling to their home.

Pickens County released the following statement to 7 News:

“Pickens County has not been served with a lawsuit in this matter as of the date and time of this release, and as such cannot respond to any specific allegations that might be found within such a suit.

However, we want to assure residents that the mission and goals of the Pickens County Prison remain top priority as we serve the community and help prepare inmates to re-enter society.

The mission of the Pickens County Prison is to provide quality services that improve and enhance the safety, cleanliness, health and quality of life in our community through inmate labor while developing work ethic, job skills, and employment opportunities in an effort to eliminate re-incarceration.

Pickens County is one of many South Carolina counties that allow inmates to work while incarcerated. Both county and state inmates are many times labeled “Trustees” because of the work they preform both inside and outside the facility. These trustees are inmates who have either plead guilty to or have been found guilty of crimes and sentenced to the South Carolina Department of Corrections, serving a misdemeanor sentence at the county level or a family court sentence. Generally, county inmates are serving time for misdemeanor, nonviolent crimes or are serving up to one year for family court violations. In addition to the county inmates housed at the Pickens County Prison, there are inmates from the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC). State Inmates, who are incarcerated at SCDC, that exhibit good behavior and have a low enough classification level may become eligible to serve the remainder of their sentences at county detention centers known as Designated Facilities, such as the Pickens County Prison, often with responsibilities that allow them to spend part of their days performing work for the benefit of the public. Due to the fact that the Pickens County Prison is a minimum security facility, it does not house inmates with active sexual offense charges or past sexual offense convictions.

Pickens County trustees are supervised by county employees and work in designated areas of the county doing various jobs such as cleaning, painting, debris pick-up and grounds work.”

Duke Energy stated that they had not been served with the lawsuit and therefore could not comment on it.

To read the full lawsuit, click here: Pickens Co. Trustee Lawsuit