A South Carolina sheriff accused of raping a female assistant more than a year ago was indicted yesterday on charges of obstruction of justice and misconduct in office, according to court records.
Greenville County Sheriff Will Lewis was also suspended from office Tuesday following an executive order signed by Republican Gov. Henry McMaster, who has called on the sheriff to resign. McMaster appointed Greenville County Sheriff Johnny Mack Brown to hold the position on an interim basis, until Lewis “is acquitted, convicted, the indictment is otherwise disposed of, or until a sheriff is elected and qualifies in the next general election for county sheriffs,” according to a news release.
The State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) opened an investigation into Lewis after his former assistant, Savannah Nabors, publicly accused Lewis of sexual misconduct in a since-deleted August 2017 blog post. In the post, she allegedly said she quit her job “out of fear for my life,” accusing Lewis of “sexual, emotional and mental abuse, assault, manipulation and stalking.”
“I couldn’t call 9-1-1,” Nabors reportedly wrote in the post. “He was ‘9-1-1.’”
Nabors claimed Lewis sexually assaulted her during a business trip in Charlotte in May 2017, according to a civil suit she later filed. In the suit, she acknowledged she had several alcoholic drinks throughout an evening with the sheriff and others at business meeting. But later, when Lewis came by her room to retrieve a bottle of liquor, she said Lewis “forcibly kissed” her, and she began to lose consciousness.
Nabors alleges she awoke to Lewis having sex on top of her.
Lewis admitted to having an affair but denied the claims of rape, harassment and stalking.
The indictment says Lewis, “willfully and dishonestly failed to properly and faithfully discharge his lawful duties as the Greenville County Sheriff through a series of improper acts,” the Greenville News reported.
“Our client is aware of the charges, although at this time we don’t know any of the specifics as they are simply vague allegations of misconduct in office and obstruction of justice,” Lewis’ lawyers said in a statement to WHNS-TV. “Sheriff Lewis adamantly denies any wrongdoing or misconduct in office and certainly did not interfere with an investigation he personally requested. We look forward to receiving the SLED report and the purported basis for the allegations and have no further comment until we do.”