Sexual coercion charges dropped against former Richland County recreation director

·2 min read

Criminal charges against a former Richland County official were dropped Monday after a years-long legal scandal.

Former county Recreation Commission director James Brown III will no longer face charges of coercing a woman into sex, attempting to coerce women into sex, witness intimidation and three counts of misconduct in office.

The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office dropped the charges a month after a jury acquitted Brown of sexual misconduct in a case related to the other allegations.

“Based on the outcome of his trial on one charge we dismissed the remaining charges,” the office’s spokesman, Robert Kittle, said.

“He never wavered in his innocence,” said attorney Dayne Phillips, who represented Brown along with Joseph Leventis. “I’m happy he can move on with his life and move on to the next chapter, and turn the page on this.”

Brown had faced the possibility more than 10 years in prison for the recently dropped charges.

The Post and Courier first reported on the charges being dropped.

Last month, Brown went on trial at the Richland County courthouse for attempted criminal sexual conduct and won an acquittal.

At that time, other charges against Brown were still pending, but the dismissal brings an end to the long-running saga that rocked the Recreation Commission.

Brown served as the commission’s director from 2010 until 2016, when he was indicted by a grand jury after an investigation by local, state and federal law enforcement.

Brown had been accused of a string of misconduct allegations during his time heading the Recreation Commission. Previous reporting from The State detailed allegations of sexual misconduct against Brown, including the allegation he forced one employee to perform oral sex in a Recreation Commission bathroom and propositioned another woman, who refused.

Brown had worked since 1981 at the Recreation Commission, which oversees youth and adult sports programs and 40 public facilities, including swimming pools, summer camps and an 18-hole golf course. He was paid $151,800 a year as director.

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