- Sunday April 15th, 2012 :: 10:32 p.m. EDT
Sheriff Ricky Chastain Responds to Relationship
I have finally been given the approval by legal counsel to speak on the matter of my extramarital relationship. As most of you may know, four members of my staff, Laurens County, and I were initially sued around June of 2011 by a woman with whom I had had a sexual relationship that began in 2008 and ended in 2010. She alleged that I and members of my staff forced her into resigning. Laurens County was also brought into the suit under the pretense that members of the County Administrative Staff knew of the relationship and should have prevented it.
This event in my life is certainly something that I am not proud of but I accept full responsibility for my actions. Members of my staff and the Laurens County Administrative Staff had no part in this relationship and should not have been forced to be subject to any part of this unfortunate ordeal. I and my staff never conspired or did anything in any manner whatsoever to force the individual I had the relationship with to quit. Some of the staff members sued did not have any knowledge of the relationship until the lawsuit was being filed. To my staff and the county personnel that had to be subjected to this I apologize to you as well. It takes strong people to weather this storm without proclaiming their innocence. I knew you wanted to but due to the legal process were unable.
As of last week the lawsuit filed against me, my staff and the sheriff’s office has been settled. A more detailed extent of the settlement will need to be provided by our legal counsels, but as a matter of economics, a settlement of $35,000.00 was made in the case. It is unfortunate that these matters must be considered when taking a case to trial and ours was no different when negotiations began with counsels and the insurance carrier. We did not ask that this case be sealed because you as the citizens have the right to know what happened and I now have the right to tell you my side of the story.
I have tried to determine the best way to convey this in order to try and answer many of the questions you might have regarding this unfortunate time in my life, and I have decided that a question and answer response is probably a good way to do that.
So, here it goes:
Am I Pro Life or Pro Choice? I am Pro Life.
Did I drive a woman who said she was pregnant with my child to a clinic in Charlotte? Yes
Was a medical procedure done while there? No, she was only in there for only a short while and when she returned she told me she had taken a pill that would terminate her pregnancy.
Did I ask her or demand that she do it? No, the day before she went to Charlotte we discussed all options and at the end of those discussions I told her that I was opposed to terminating the pregnancy. The next day while at work, I was called to come to her residence. She informed me that she had made an appointment for the location in Charlotte for that day and insisted that I drive her.
Did I take my assigned county vehicle? Yes, I did take the vehicle I am assigned as Sheriff. I was in it at the time I learned she had made an appointment for that same day in Charlotte. I regularly use my county assigned vehicle on account of my obligation to respond to calls anywhere at anytime and I have often left functions to respond to crime scenes or other dangerous incidents.
What is my opinion on the use of the county vehicle to drive her to Charlotte? It certainly is not one of the smartest decisions I have made but it is one of those that I must live with. There is no criminal violation for the use of the vehicle. I am regularly in the vehicle due to being called to situations that may exist throughout the county 24/7. My job is not 9 – 5 as most would think but I normally work far in excess of that every week. I am a salaried employee who receives no overtime or holiday pay. I annually report the use of the county vehicle as a benefit to the state ethics commission in addition to my salary.
What about the alleged second abortion? I have very limited information to the details of it.
Why? When I was told she was pregnant two months after the first pregnancy I decided that I no longer could continue to live as I was. I told her that I would not engage in any conversation regarding abortion, I would take responsibility for the child, and that I was going to tell my wife of the relationship and pregnancy.
Did I threaten her with her job if she didn't terminate the pregnancy? Absolutely not, I am opposed to abortion and would not discuss it as an option.
Did I conspire to make her quit? Absolutely not and no one from my staff ever conspired to force her into quitting.
When did I tell my wife and children? October 9, 2010
What happened afterwards? My wife, kids and I began the healing process and counseled with a pastor. I asked my wife, my kids, and my God to forgive me for my actions. The day after I told my wife, Kelley, she did call the woman with whom I had the extramarital relationship with and Kelley told her that she and I would raise the child.
What happened next? After several weeks of limited or no communication with her, I received a text around the middle of November 2010 from her stating that she was aborting the pregnancy. We heard nothing more until approximately June of 2011 when she filed a lawsuit against me and some of my staff members.
I regret I have to bring up these unpleasant memories again for my family to contend with but I know of no other way to express to you what happened. I deeply regret my actions. Unless you’ve been down this road before, no one will really ever know the personal pain it still causes me today. I understand that I live in a political world where the knives are sharp and ready to be thrust at a moment’s notice, but I also know my God has forgiven me. In conclusion, let me state again, I and I alone take responsibility for my actions. My staff and the County of Laurens had no role in my shortcomings.
Laurens County Sheriff's Office
216 West Main Street
Laurens, SC 29360