Ex-Bamberg County Council member faces more sex abuse charges

(Courtesy: Clarendon Co. Detention Center) Kerry Kinard

(Courtesy: Clarendon Co. Detention Center) Kerry Kinard

BAMBERG, S.C. (AP) — A former county council member and ex-South Carolina state trooper charged with sexually abusing girls and lying about it while trying to buy a gun has been granted bail again.

Ex-Bamberg County Councilman Kerry Trent Kinard, who faces up to life in prison if convicted of the state charges, remains jailed for now pending a federal bond hearing, The Times and Democrat of Orangeburg reported.

Federal prosecutors said he lied when he said wasn’t under felony indictment or a restraining order while trying to buy a gun in December.

“I don’t know if anyone’s pleaded stupidity before, but he was stupid,” Kinard’s lawyer, Bakari Sellers, said in reference to the gun charge.

Kinard has pleaded not guilty to the state charges and Sellers said he’s innocent.

Kinard had a bond hearing Friday on his most recent charges, filed in December in Jasper County, where he worked as a state trooper and magistrate from 1995 to 2000. Kinard, 49, is charged there with third-degree criminal sexual conduct and other counts.

The woman who accused Kinard of the sexual abuse spoke at the hearing. She said she was 16 when Kinard abused her, and said his job as a state trooper convinced her for years that no one would believe her.

“How do I know that he will not seek out my young daughters as they play in my neighborhood or come to harm me and my family for speaking the truth after all these years?” she asked the judge. Her name was not reported because she said she is a victim of sexual assault.

The judge in Jasper County ordered his release anyway, keeping bond at $75,000 and issuing the same conditions Kinard is required to follow in Bamberg County, where he was first arrested last year.

Kinard must avoid the victims in the case, wear a GPS monitor and get drug and alcohol treatment. His lawyer told the judge he would be living at a hotel in Lexington.

Kinard was first charged in Bamberg County with first-degree assault and battery, second-degree attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor under age 16 and other counts.

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