SC councilman arrested, accused of child molestation

BAMBERG, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina county councilman is in custody, accused of molesting a child, state authorities said.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division on Friday arrested Bamberg County Council Chairman Kerry Trent Kinard on a charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, attempted criminal sexual contact with a minor, two counts of criminal solicitation of a minor, first degree assault and battery and two counts of dissemination of obscene material, The State reported.

The charges stem from incidents between 2008 and September, SLED said.

According to state police affidavits, Kinard, 49, showed pornography to male and female children, asked them to have sex, touched them sexually and tried to have intercourse with a teenage girl. Between 2008 and 2010, Kinard also touched a male juvenile, according to a police affidavit.

If convicted of the first-degree criminal sexual conduct offense, Kinard could be sentenced to prison for life.

SLED investigated the allegations against Kinard at the request of the Bamberg Police Department.

Kinard is being held in the Bamberg County Detention Center. Bond information and whether he has an attorney who could speak on his behalf were not immediately available.

Kinard was elected in 2016 to represent District 1. His term ends in December. Gov. Henry McMaster will decide whether Kinard will be suspended from office.