Lawyer wants HCPD to release more files regarding sexual miscond - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Lawyer wants HCPD to release more files regarding sexual misconduct allegations

Source: WMBF News Source: WMBF News

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A lawyer behind a lawsuit against the Horry County Police Department and the county itself wants to see more files released to find out the department's knowledge of sexual misconduct among one of its former officers.

On Monday, a court hearing was held in the Jane Doe versus Horry County and Horry County Police Department case, the first anonymous lawsuit filed against the police department that alleges a detective sexually assaulted a woman back in 2013 over a period of six months.

The lawyers talked about how the case is about former Horry County Det. Allen Large.

Large is not named as a defendant in this particular lawsuit. However, it does allege Horry County and the police department knew or should have known about his actions.

That is why the plaintiff is requesting additional files and information from the police department to investigate the case.

Attorney James B. Moore III, who is representing Jane Doe, asked the judge to make HCPD provide personnel and training files for Christopher Peterson and Todd Cox, both of whom worked for the department.

"We have identified these two individuals as witnesses in this case," Moore said. "We intend to take their deposition and are requesting that we have an opportunity to review their personnel file so we can adequately prepare for their deposition."

Moore said Peterson was fired from the department the same week as Large in 2015.

"They worked together," he said. "There were allegations of misconduct. Those allegations were sustained. He was terminated."

He said Large and Cox worked together as well.

Moore also requested any citizen complaints since 2005 about sexual assaults or unwanted sexual advances and the internal affairs files in reference to those complaints.

In a motion to compel that was previously filed with the court, the plaintiff, through her attorney, alleged other HCPD officers had knowledge of Large’s “propensities to harm female victims of crime and failed to take any action against (the) detective, allowing him to continue to abuse female victims and suspects, including plaintiff, under the guise of the Horry County Police Department.”

"Not only are these prior incidents necessary to support our allegations, these prior incidents go to the heart of the defense that they had no knowledge, they had no notice, of this problem in the department," Moore said.

Defense attorney Samuel Arthur, who represents HCPD and the county, said the case is about Large, not Cox or Peterson.

He also said Jane Doe did not know who Cox or Peterson were when asked about them during the deposition. He added the relevant information for the case has already been provided.

"Those requests are very overly broad and overly burdensome to Horry County and they’re not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of evidence that would be admissible in this case," Arthur said.

"I find it hard to believe that it would be too burdensome for this police department that has nearly 300 employees to go back and look through the internal affairs files," said Moore, who also offered to look through the files himself if they're put on a hard drive confidentially.

Arthur said he thinks the motion is asking the court to open the door to files of officers unrelated to the case.

"It’s simply an attempt to identify potential other claimants, issues related to other officers that might spawn additional litigation," he said.

The judge told the lawyers he will issue his decision this week.

Monday’s hearing came just a few days after the South Carolina Attorney General announced indictments against four former HCPD officers, including Large and Cox.

Large was indicted on six counts of misconduct in office and five counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. He has been the subject of a WMBF News investigation since March.

Large was terminated July 31, 2015 after an internal investigation into sexual harassment allegations. He is also named in or involved in five different lawsuits against Horry County police.

The indictments allege Large knowingly used coercion to engage in sexual battery with several victims and knowingly engaged in inappropriate relationships with victims of cases he was investigating.

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