Former chief, officers deny allegations of ‘widespread abuses’ in Horry Co. Police Department

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The former chief of the Horry County Police Department and other officers are refuting allegations made by a woman suing the department who claims there were "documented widespread abuses" over a 10-year period.

Late last month, attorneys for Jane Doe 3 filed a 30-page response to former chief Saundra Rhodes' and four other officers' motion for summary judgment. That response alleges Rhodes not only knew of former detective Allen Large's reported criminal sexual conduct, but she knew of at least 13 other reports of sexual misconduct by HCPD officers and failed to take action.

"Plaintiff does not present alleged cases of sexual misconduct by other officers from January 1, 2006 to September 26, 2016 into evidence, but merely presents her interpretation of a discovery response for investigative files on employees for this arbitrary ten-year period," the defendants' own response, filed Friday, stated.

The court documents also state that Rhodes became interim chief in February 2012 and served as chief from September 2012 until June 30, 2016, and was therefore not in a position "to have knowledge of or respond to these other investigations," and that the allegations in those investigations were not the same as those made against Large.

"No other officers were involved with Large in recruiting women for catfighting matches or even participating," the response stated. "Plaintiff argues that because other employees were investigated for complaints of questionable behavior over a ten-year period, all employees are suspect. This proposition defies logic."

In its response, the defendants also deny other allegations made by Jane Doe 3, including that the department failed to investigate allegations of misconduct by Large after concerns were raised in a letter written by his father-in-law, and that it didn't look into reports that Large's vehicle was seen frequently at a "known drug house."

In 2015, Large was suspended pending a fitness-for-duty psychological exam, court documents state. In his absence, Jane Doe 2 came forward with allegations against the detective.

An investigation determined those allegations were founded, and Large was fired from the department, the response stated.

"The Horry County Police Department, and these Defendants, took action on every complaint or concern about Large," court documents state. "He was out of work awaiting clearance to return from his psychological examination when Jane Doe 2's complaint came in. He was not allowed to return until it was investigated. When founded, he was terminated."

Large was later indicted on six counts of misconduct in office and five counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Up until his death in January 2018, Large maintained his innocence. He denied sexually assaulting anyone, though he did admit to asking female crime victims if they wanted to make money by participating in nude, sexual fetish cat-fights with other women.

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