Jury Acquits Rec Director of Sexual Misconduct Charge

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The former head of the Richland County Recreation Commission in South Carolina was found not guilty this week of an allegation that he attempted to have sexual contact with a woman while at the workplace.

A jury exonerated James Brown III on Thursday following a two-day trial at the Richland County Judicial Center in Columbia, WLTX-TV reported. He had been charged with third-degree attempted criminal sexual conduct. 

The state attorney general’s office — which prosecuted the case — declined to comment on the verdict Thursday, citing other pending charges against Brown. 

The State Newspaper reported that a call to Brown’s attorney Dayne Phillips was not immediately returned Thursday. 

Brown was accused in a string of misconduct allegations during his time heading the recreation commission, which oversees youth and adult sports programs and 40 public facilities, including swimming pools, summer camps and a golf course. 

Brown was first indicted on a criminal charge in 2016. He announced his retirement from his $151,800-a-year job 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, WLTX-TV reported. 

Previous reporting from The State Newspaper detailed allegations of sexual misconduct against Brown. It was alleged he forced one employee to perform oral sex in a recreation commission bathroom and propositioned another woman, who refused. 

A judge ordered that Brown be tried separately on a charge of misconduct in office. That trial will be held at a future date, according to WLTX-TV.

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