FOLLY BEACH, SC (WCSC) - A grievance committee will now have 20 days to put forth a recommendation to Folly Beach City Council on the fate of suspended officer Ron Avallone.
Avallone was given a 5-day suspension by Public Safety Department Chief Dennis Brown for "incompetence and neglect" related to an incident on June 23rd.
Brown says Avallone failed to immediately arrest a man, 67-year-old Fred Rogers, who is accused of fondling a 13-year-old girl at the beach. One hour later, Rogers allegedly assaulted a woman at his apartment complex on Folly Road.
Avallone fought the suspension at a grievance hearing Monday night at Folly Beach City Hall.
He says on the day in question, he responded to a call of a man creating a disturbance on the beach by sitting in another person's chair and putting sand on a girl.
Avallone says after speaking with a beach manager, he then escorted Rogers from the beach and left the scene to attend to another call.
Avallone says two additional officers he had called to the scene were the first to hear details of an alleged sexual assault.
"I was never told or flagged down by anyone else," he said. "I couldn't have known about the second complaint -- I wasn't near."
Public Safety Chief Dennis Brown also spoke before the committee, saying that as the first officer on scene, Avallone had a duty to understand the details behind the original complaint.
"Had the suspect remained on-scene, the suspect would have been detained and the second sexual assault wouldn't have occurred," he said.
The grievance committee will have 20 days to give a recommendation to Folly Beach City Council. Council will then decide if the suspension should be upheld or overturned.
Fred Rogers is charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor, and assault, in connection to the two separate incidents.