Resigned state representative indicted for allegedly touching fe - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Resigned state representative indicted for allegedly touching female staffer

Hardwick in a 2014 interview with WMBF News Hardwick in a 2014 interview with WMBF News

COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) - Former state representative Nelson Hardwick has been indicted on one count of misconduct in office for allegedly touching a female House of Representatives employee inappropriately, and against her will, according to a news release from the South Carolina Attorney General's Office.

Hardwick, who represented the Surfside Beach area in the State House, unexpectedly resigned from his office in May of this year following the inappropriate conduct complaint filed against him. In a statement, the 63-year-old Republican stated he was quitting because he wanted to focus on his health.

A Richland County Grand Jury returned the indictment against Hardwick on October 22, charging him with one count of misconduct in office. According to the news release, he indictment accuses Hardwick of using his position to lure of House of Representatives employee to his office earlier this year and inappropriately touching her against his will.

Attorney Morgan Martin gave WMBF News the following statement regarding Hardwick: "We were made aware of the indictment earlier today and intend, on Mr. Hardwick’s behalf, to defend any and all accusations of criminal activity.” 

Misconduct in office, a misdemeanor offense, is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, upon conviction. 

The case will be prosecuted by Assistant Deputy Attorney General Heather Weiss and Assistant Attorney General Kinli Abee. The investigation was conducted by agents with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

"Attorney General Wilson stressed all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty in a court of law," the release states.

Hardwick was chairman of House's Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee for two terms before moving to the Ways and Means Committee in 2015.

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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