HCPD, solicitors office face lawsuit following dismissal of sex abuse case

HCPD, solicitors office face lawsuit following dismissal of sex abuse case
Anthony Strickland

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - A man once charged in sexual assault cases involving two minors is now suing the Horry County Police Department and the Horry County Solicitor’s Office.

Lawyers filed the suit Thursday on behalf of Anthony Strickland.

Back in 2016, Strickland, along with Lindsey Honeycutt, Ambrose Heavener and Panteleimon Spirakis, were arrested on several charges including criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the first degree and sexual exploitation of a minor in the first degree.

Charges against Strickland were dropped in July of 2019. Days later, he called the investigation “a nightmare.”

In the lawsuit filed this week, Strickland’s attorneys claim he was threatened with criminal prosecution and conviction “as leverage” to ensure cooperation of another suspect in the case, Lindsey Honeycutt.

The Horry County Police Department and the Horry County Solicitor’s Office were negligent, reckless and defamatory in their investigation involving Strickland, according to the lawsuit.

Strickland claims the investigation resulted in mental anguish and suffering, personal humiliation and injury to his reputation, among other harms.

Attorneys for Strickland are asking the court to award in compensation for the personal and financial damages he faced as a result.

Honeycutt pleaded guilty in August 2018. Heavener entered an Alford plea in June of 2019, meaning the defendant maintains his or her innocence while acknowledging there is enough evidence that a jury would convict.

Both were sentenced to 15 years in prison in their cases.

Spirakis pleaded guilty in 2018 but has requested a new trial in the case. He filed a post-conviction relief in May 2019 that is asking for his guilty plea to be tossed out and a new trial ordered due to “ineffective assistance of council (sic)” and “judicial error.”

That case is still pending.

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