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Ex-Richland County Recreation Commission leader found not guilty of attempted sex crime charge

The accusation was made from the time when James Brown III used to run the agency.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The former head of Richland County's Recreation Commission has been found not guilty of an allegation that he attempted to have sexual contact with a woman while at the workplace. 

A jury exonerated James Brown III Thursday following a two day trial in Columbia. He'd been charged with attempted criminal sexual conduct third degree

The allegations stem from 2014 when Brown was the head of the agency, which he led from 2010 to 2016. A woman had claimed Brown physically grabbed her arm and forcefully tried to pull her into his office bathroom. She claims she was able to stop him. 

RELATED: Sexual Conduct Charges Filed Against Ex-Richland Co. Recreation Commission Head

But after hearing from her and listening to the evidence presented during the trial, the jury found in favor of Brown. 

Back in 2016, Brown was accused by some employees of creating a hostile work environment in the agency that included claims of sexual harassment. Several civil lawsuits were filed.

Brown was first indicted on a criminal charge in 2016 and announced his retirement from the agency a short time later. The South Carolina Attorney General's office added additional charges in 2018, claiming that Brown tried to get female employees to have sex with him. The charges covered alleged misconduct between 2012 and 2015. 

RELATED: Richland Board Suffered from 'Dysfunction,' Audit Finds

Brown's legal troubles are not over, however, as he still faces a misconduct in office charge. A judge ruled that count must be heard separately.

After he first faced charges in 2016, four board recreation board members resigned and all but one of the others were removed by then-Governor Nikki Haley.

The Richland County Recreation Commission manages the county's parks, swimming pools, camps, and one golf course.