ORANGEBURG, SC (WLTX)- The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is investigating a woman's claim that an Orangeburg deputy sexually assaulted her.
That deputy was fired June 13th, a day after this incident occurred, according to Sheriff Leroy Ravenell.
Justin Bamberg is the attorney representing the woman.
"This is an example of the powerful taking advantage of the powerless," Bamberg said. "This officer took advantage of this woman and forced her to do something against her will under the threat of arrest and duress. And that should never happen."
The Orangeburg Sheriff's office has not released the deputy in question's name or any further details, stating:
"At this time, it would be inappropriate to comment further since this is an ongoing investigation," the sheriff said. "We have asked the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to conduct an investigation rather than this agency to avoid any sense of impropriety."
Bamberg says the fact that the deputy was fired immediately is telling.
"It is my understanding that he did not deny that a sexual act took place," Bamberg said.
He went on to explain what happened from his client's side of the story.
He says two deputies were responding to a domestic violence call on June 12 at the woman's home.
One of the deputies, a training officer, stayed outside with her boyfriend while the deputy in question was inside questioning the woman.
She claims that deputy then forced her to preform a sex act on him, while her young daughter was sleeping in the next room.
"I can think of nothing more traumatic," Bamberg said, "than to be forced to do something sexual against your will. It is even more traumatizing that the individual who does it has a badge and a uniform and the only person you can call for help is also someone who has a badge and a uniform."
Bamberg says the accused deputy was new to the department and was not certified by the Criminal Justice Academy.
The sheriff's office has not confirmed that, but Florence McCants explained how that is possible, stating:
“State law allows one to work up to one year before they MUST attend the SC Criminal Justice Academy to become a certified law enforcement officer for the state. Although state law allows one a year to work in the field, The Law Enforcement Training Council strongly encourages agencies not to use officers who are not trained and certified to execute an d enforce law for the state."
Bamberg says shortly after the alleged assault, the woman and her boyfriend called 911 to report it, and said a different deputy responded.
He claims that deputy did not follow proper protocol to collect evidence.
"She would have had her statement taken, she would have been sent or told to go to the hospital so that a sexual assault nurse examiner could perform a sexual assault test on her," Bamberg explained. "None of that was done in this case. This woman was not offered any sort of service or assistance or a victim's advocate.The big part of this case is this woman's civil rights were violated."
Bamberg says this will likely come down to a case of whether or not there was consent, but emphasized that he believes his client "100%" when she says there was not.
The name of the former deputy has not been released as SLED continues to investigate. If he is convicted, McCants says he will be barred from ever joining or graduating form the academy.